I sat in my living room watching a famous pastor on the TV screen. “If you knew the cure for cancer, you’d be eager to share it with the world, wouldn’t you?” he gushed. This was how he believed Christians ought to feel about sharing the truth of Jesus’ love and redemption with the world.
“Well, of course,” I thought. But on further reflection, I found one major flaw in his analogy. Before people will enthusiastically embrace the good news about a cure, they have to be presented with the bad news: “You have terminal cancer.”
People never like hearing those words. That’s why we hesitate to say them. People don’t want to be told that sin is the spiritual cancer that will eventually claim their lives, that it’s riddled throughout their souls, a malignancy they are powerless to purge from their systems.
Only Jesus can perform the operation that will carry sin away eternally. Only by submitting to his orders, as a cancer patient would follow the orders of his oncologist no matter how painful, can the cure for sin be ensured.
Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17). However, saving the world required giving humanity an honest diagnosis. Jesus proclaimed that we all suffer from the terminal disease of sin. Left untreated, it will separate us from God forever.
Until I have the courage to tell people the bad news, they will never be willing to embrace the good news. Christ was despised and rejected because he carried the sobering truth to a dying world. If I come in his name, proclaiming his diagnosis, I should also expect to be despised and rejected. I know that some will label me a quack, but I must overcome my fear and have the faith to believe that some will have ears to hear. And those who recognize that they are truly dying will joyfully accept Jesus as their cure.