The book of Romans is one of my favorite books of the Bible because it has such a clear presentation of the Good News about Jesus – the Gospel.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (ESV)
Here in these verses Paul (after his introductory comments) introduces the theme of his letter to the church at Rome: He is writing to them about the “Gospel.”
Some Christians in Rome may have felt shame for being identified with Jesus. To Jews a crucified Messiah was “a stumbling block” – they were looking for a military conqueror. a meek teacher did not fit their expectations. And Gentiles considered the story foolishness – because a crucifixion meant he was probably a criminal and certainly His was a failed mission. If their leaders executed him, why should anyone consider his message important.
But Paul is “not ashamed” of Jesus. In fact, “not ashamed” is another way for Paul to say, “I am proud of the good news about Jesus.”
He was proud of the Gospel because he knew men and women were without hope except for the death of Jesus Christ. He is proud to share this Gospel because it has within it “Power.” It is the power of forgiveness; the power to reconcile us to harmony with our God; the power to heal our relationship with God.
The same power that raised Jesus from the tomb can resurrect our deadness and make us alive in Jesus. Hearing the story of Jesus does something to us. It changes us and the Holy Spirit creates a new life within. Later in his letter he will explain how the simple act of trusting in this Gospel actually changes our relationship with God.
The Contemporary English Version puts it this way: “I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.”
Lord, am I sometimes ashamed of the Gospel about Jesus? Forgive me. And give me the courage and boldness to share your love at every opportunity – and especially by my example. Amen.