I had a similar experience while taking New Testament Greek in college. I was struggling with the vocabulary, the sentence structure, the tenses and everything and there were times I felt like I was in way over my head. It didn’t help that my New Testament Greek professor grilled us like a drill sergeant demanding answers from the randomly chosen students in the class. I remember sitting there in mortal fear of being called on and praying that I would not freeze and not be able to give the right answer. Then one day, he fired a question at me. I don’t remember the question now, but I remember freezing, my heart racing and my brain telling me to calm down and think. And then, the answer was just there as clear as it could be! And so I said, “Oh that? That’s just an aorist tense (or whatever it was).” I remember the twinkle in my professor’s eye as he laughed and said, “just?” It was clear and not complicated any longer.
I think that we Christians sometimes do that to the Bible. Now there are many things in the Scriptures that are very mysterious and beyond our understanding; don’t get me wrong. Think of the Trinity or how Jesus was both fully God and fully a human being. And then there are the peculiarities of books like Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation. The Bible has many mysteries and can certainly seem to be complicated.
That is why it is so startling when I read certain verses that are absolutely crystal clear with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember reading a few weeks ago the verse from Romans 10:9 – “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The stark simplicity of that statement made me sit up and take notice. It’s really that simple. Believe that Jesus is the resurrected Lord and confess that we accept that truth and live for Christ, and we are saved. That’s it! In those times when life is complicated and difficult or when we face doubts or trials, the message of the gospel is really that simple. Believe it and live by it and you will be saved.
This month we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We once again say that we believe that Jesus rose from the dead! We also state that the risen Jesus is also our Lord and we want to live obediently and joyfully with him as we go through our lives. There are complexities and challenges but when we face them, let’s remember that the gospel is really just that simple.