During this Sunday service Pastor Richmond Leigh (my husband) preached from the Book of Acts. ‘So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans’ (Ac 8:25). Pastor Richmond Leigh said that Peter and John, two of the leading disciples, after finishing the work in Samaria, they did not rush back to Jerusalem. They preached the Gospel in many villages in Samaria. This is an astonishing statement of a deep revelation. Why ‘waste time’ preaching to the villagers? This action is in contrast with the way the world does its things. So, why did they do this?
The first reason why the Apostles preached to the poor people in the villages is because of the nature of the message. The Gospel is designed to be preached to all men, but to the poor people in particular. This is God’s plan and purpose. The Gospel is the Good news of the Cross. Jesus died for our sins so that we might live. This Gospel makes people happy. The effect of believing the Gospel is that people begin to sing. Even if their voices are not very melodious, they cannot stop singing. This is a sign of joy, freedom and thanksgiving. When the angels announced the birth of our Lord, they were singing (Lk 2:14). Once you believe the Gospel, you shall experience a new desire to tell everybody about it. It is like you have discovered a treasure. The believer is talkative! The Gospel was so wonderful and amazing, that Peter and John could not contain themselves, they could not refrain themselves from preaching it. They were happy to preach it to the poor men and women in the villages. Halleluiah!
This attitude or strategy is the opposite with that of the world. The world tells its preachers to go to the bog cities and preach to the rich, famous, educated and emancipated men. The world loves brilliant ideas but unfortunately for them, the Gospel is not meant for the worldly wise brilliant men. The way God designed the preaching of the Gospel, is that the wise men of this world will regard it as ‘foolishness’ (1Cor 1:17-24). The proud wise men cannot find God thru their proud investigation. But the simple poor men believe what the big men rejected. Their faith leads to salvation. They believe that Christ crucified and resurrected is the wisdom and the power of God! That is how they get saved! That is why they rejoice!
Let’s look at our Savior, Jesus Christ! Imagine for a moment that He came into this world as the world wanted it. He could have been born to a rich, educated couple, in a palace. He could have gone to the best schools in Jerusalem. He could have come with pomp and pageantry. But see the way He came! He was born as a baby, in a manger, among animals. His parents were poor simple people. God came in the flesh as a helpless baby. He worked with his hands. He was a carpenter. When He started His ministry, Jesus did not go towards the rich, noble, educated and famous people. He went to all, but especially to the poor people. He was not a Pharisee.
Can you imagine that? A whole Jewish Redeemer who did not train in their Bible schools or prophetic classes! He chose disciples among the simple people, mostly the working class and the fishermen in particular. “And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” (Jn 7:15). Jesus did not start a School of Philosophy where the great question of the unity of Christ could be thought, where debates could have been rewarded. Jesus did not come as a military general to set up a military academy. He did not go to Jerusalem to set Himself as the King of the Jews. He could have appeared to all saying that He needs qualified men to be His assistants. Their CVs should show a minimum requirement of PhD in Philosophy, working as a Pharisee for 20 years or being a senator in Rome for at least two terms, with exceptional oratory skills. In that case, none of us could have been saved and none of us could have been able to work for God! What a Savior!
When Jesus sent a word to John the Baptist, to encourage him while in prison, He said that the Gospel is confirmed by miracles and it is ‘preached to the poor’ (Mt 11:3-5). The Gospel is preached to the Poor! This is the distinguished quality of the Gospel! That is why it is different from any other religious teaching or worldly philosophy! The Pharisees and the Greeks wanted nothing to do with the low class, uneducated poor men and women. In the Parable of the Great Supper, the king’s invitation was rejected by the rich men. ‘Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ (Lk 14: 21). This is what King Jesus says: “Bring in here the poor, that they may feast at the royal table!”
Jesus was a humble preacher. The world did not understand him. Even His brothers did not understand Him. When He was arrested He did not struggle with the soldiers. He went to die ‘like a sheep going to the slaughter’. He did not ‘phone’ His friends in high places. When He was crucified, Jesus died ‘quickly’. The Roman soldiers were surprised. Crucifixion is a slow and painful form of death. But He died quickly. Why? So that the prince of this world, the devil, will not change his mind and bring Him down from the Cross. He died for us that we may be free from the judgment of sin and death! What a Savior!
In everything that He did, from His birth to His death, Jesus was the reverse of all that the world expected. Look at the mother of Jesus! Mary was a simple girl. She was not a queen. She did not live in Herod’s palace. The first people who received the good news were simple shepherds. The announcement of the birth of the Messiah, was not given to the Governor of Judea, to the High Priest in Jerusalem or the Pharisees. The Word of God bypassed the big men, the politicians and the religious leaders and went to the wilderness, to a simple man called John the Baptist (Lk 3:1, 2). Why God did avoid the wise and powerful men of the world? This is so that ‘no flesh should glory in His presence’ (1Cor 1:26-29)!
Let us remind ourselves that it is the Gospel of Christ alone that has ever given hope to the poor. Revivals rarely start in big cities. They usually start in places nobody has heard of, or in places people think that they are too ungodly. They do not start in majestic cathedrals but in simple homes where the humble and faithful children of God gather to pray. To many people, Warri/Effurun in Nigeria is a village. Many say: ‘What good can come to Warri? There is nothing good in Warri!’ But in this humble town, the Gospel is preached! This is great news! Jesus has come! The Holy Spirit is pouring fresh wine upon us! That is why we rejoice! Not because Warri has skyscrapers or beautiful parks (because it does not yet have them). But we are witnesses that the Holy Spirit loves it! That is enough for us to continue to sing unto the Lord! If Warri is good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me and you! Jesus is the Simple Savior! He brought the simple Gospel to give salvation to simple people, like me and you! Never forget! Salvation is of God! He saves whom He wills! If you are a rich man, educated and famous then humble yourself! Believe the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved! (Ac 16:31). Worship the Lord!