A TED- essay on the Christian Gospel
by: Deji Yesufu
TED is an acronym for technology, entertainment and design. TED-talks are held around the world to discuss “ideas worth spreading”. In less than twenty minutes, an individual stands before an audience and presents an idea that can change the world. It is worth the time if one can watch a few of such videos on YouTube. The very first TED-talk that I watched was one where Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS), former Emir of Kano, spoke on “Overcoming the Fear of Vested Interest“.
In 18 minutes, Sanusi spoke on how he took on powerful elements in the Nigerian banking industry to bring about much needed change in that financial sector of Nigeria. That action will cost him his position as Central Bank Governor and his fearless stance on issues also led to his deposition as Emir of Kano. But the man still retains an indomitable spirit that is sure to some day make impact on our national life. In this essay, since I do not have the opportunity to give a talk, I will be writing about one idea that is indeed worth spreading. That idea is the Christian gospel.
The Black Death was a bubonic plague and a pandemic that raged through the whole world between 1347 to 1351. Almost 200 million people perished from it. Besides the disease being contagious, it was spread from place to place by fleas. There were villages in Europe where almost 60% of the population were killed from the disease. In those days, there were no vaccines. The world survived the plague by simply developing immunity from it. You will appreciate the numbers that perished from that plague when you realize that only 4 million people have killed from the Coronavirus pandemic. Some even argue that compared to the Black Death, COVID-19 cannot be called a pandemic. I digress.
One of the fallouts of seeing much death in one’s lifetime is that one develops a healthy view of one’s mortality. When you know you could die any moment, not necessarily when you are 60 and above, you begin to prepare to die. This is the reason why people in the middle ages had a deep religious outlook to life. Medical science were not that advanced then and people died very frequently. In fact the main reason couples had many children was to secure a number that will live to adulthood: with more children, there was a greater possibility that some will survive to adult life.
Incidentally, the Christian message leaves its adherents without a fear of death. In fact an increased comprehension of the eternal life we have received in believing in Jesus Christ leads to a reduced fear of death. The writer to the Hebrew Christians says it better:
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrew 2:14-15)
To comprehend these words, my readers must submit to certain presuppositions. You must believe that there is a God who made the heavens and the earth; we must accept that human beings are eternal souls – and that life does not end on earth; and you must understand that there is a devil – who primary preoccupation is to deceive humanity so that men may spend eternity with him in hell. With these presupposition in place, we begin to understand the mysteries around death. Death is fearful because most people are uncertain about what lies for them after death. Even if we accept the concept of heaven and hell, do we have the credential to enter heaven? Here is where the gospel of Jesus Christ has some answers.
Death was not part of God’s creation. When God created heaven and earth, he said it was good because the element of sin was not present in it then. When our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned, God told them that they will (from now on) die. This is how death came into the world. By the first Adam sin came into the world; it made sense that by another Adam, the second Adam, death will be removed from the world.
The gospel is the message that says that God took on flesh in the person of his Holy Son, Jesus Christ, he lived as man; he lived without committing sin; he died on a cross; he faced Death in death and defeated this enemy by rising from the dead on the third day after he was killed. If you and I will place faith in Jesus Christ, we would never die. It will mean that though we sleep in death in this life, we would rise up to eternal life in the life to come. If, however, you reject Christ as your Lord and Savior, all that would be left for you in the life after now is eternal hell.
The Christian gospel is one idea worth spreading. Indeed from among twelve inconsequential ignorant men in ancient Palestine, God has spread the message of the saving works of God in Jesus Christ to all the world. The gospel has gone from ancient Israel to the courts of the super powers of the Roman Empire, reaching every corner of that empire in the first two centuries of its existence. The gospel has gone to Europe, Asia and to the ends of the earth. in the 19th century, the gospel of Jesus Christ came to Nigeria and has invaded many homes in this country – despite its continual conflict with Islam, its leading rival in the world of religion. Europe that gave Africa the gospel is now returning to its pagan roots. But no matter what happens to the gospel in a land, Christ will always retain a remnant of his people there.
Death has returned to our world – not that it ever went anywhere; but most people are beginning to have a healthy comprehension of their mortality because in spite of medical advances, the Coronavirus and its variants are still killing people and the number of deaths by it is still rising. Medical science is beginning to realize that the various measures that they have put in place to curb the spread of this disease – masking, social distance, etc – are not as effective as they thought.
The only sure immunity against COVID-19 and all agents of death is faith in Jesus Christ. When men’s hearts are failing them and the fear of death is conspicuous on their faces, there is no better time than now to tell them about the gospel. The gospel is one idea worth spreading because it is the only answer to the sure question of death when it comes knocking on the doors of our souls and asking for our lives. The gospel is one idea that has been changing our world since the advent of the Son of God on earth and it is still the one idea that can solve the troubles of our world today.
Repent, believe the gospel and you will be safe.