Gary McDade

        Proof there is a God is so abundant that a refusal to believe in God leaves one without excuse. Paul wrote, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Proof of the Deity of Christ is equally evident. In fact, the statement in Romans 1:20 takes the Deity of Christ into account. Colossians 1:16-17 reads, “For by him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

        In this connection a very interesting communication was sent from Christ himself to John the Baptist when John was in prison. John sent two of his disciples to Christ with the question, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3). Jesus’ answer would reveal proof of his Deity and Messiahship to John. Notice what Jesus said, “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them” (Matt. 11:4-5). Five of the six matters discussed here involve the ability to work miracles. How these would stand as proof of the supernatural nature of Christ is self-evident. And, the sixth item mentioned would carry every bit as much weight in convincing John that Jesus is Christ. “The poor have the gospel preached unto them.”

        The poor people in this world usually do not enjoy the advantages of adequate nutrition, proper health care, educational opportunities, social acceptance, or a viable political voice. So, there would be no personal advantage to be gained in preaching the gospel to them. Yet, the matchless compassion of the Savior (Matt. 9:36; John 11:35) and his realization of the worth of one soul (Matt. 16:26) emerge as Christ views the poor to be worthy candidates for the gospel. The Messiah would preach good tidings to the meek or poor (Isa. 61:1-2). Jesus knew this and stood in the synagogue at Nazareth once and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). He then commented, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). John the Baptist would recognize the preaching of the gospel to the poor as proof of the Deity of Christ.

        The envious Pharisees once asked, “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?” (John 7:48). Paul wrote, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (I Cor. 1:26). James observed, “Harken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (Jas. 2:5). Preaching the gospel to the poor today proves the Deity of Christ just as it did in the first century.

Questions for Discussion

1.  How is the gospel defined in I Corinthians 15:1-4?

2.  What did Jesus command as the subject to be preached to the world in Mark 16:15?

3.  Discuss how the preaching of the gospel is synonymous with preaching the word of the Lord from
     I  Peter 2:25.

4.  What should be preached when people in general have little or no interest in hearing the gospel of
     Christ according to II Timothy 4:2?

5.  What is the “power of God unto salvation” mentioned in Romans 1:16?

6.  What will be the standard by which the world will be judged on that last great day according to Romans

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