Why was he upset? The Apostle Paul knew and understood deeply the great commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” Matthew 28:19). Back in present-day time, we see the number of Muslims growing rapidly, not only in Dearborn, but also throughout the United States. Do we ignore the Lord’s commandment to go forth and preach (evangelism)? Doesn’t Jesus say in John 10:16, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.” Evangelism is the fulfillment of God’s command.
Another reason that Paul was upset was his sense of responsibility. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “For if I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” Paul did not preach the Gospel out of compulsion, but out of a sense of his responsibility. He saw preaching as a necessity and calling. Verse 19 continues, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” Paul says that the freedom is in preaching the Gospel of Christ. “I do it all for the sake of the gospel,” he says, “that I may share with them in its blessings” (I Corinthians 9:23).
For this reason, Paul was upset when he found the city full of strange gods, the people being far from the true God in Jesus Christ. The question that I will leave with you is: “Shouldn’t we be upset when we see millions upon millions worshiping strange gods, far from the true God in Christ Jesus? Shouldn’t we be upset when we see pious people in search of the true God, with no one there to guide them?” Preaching the Gospel of Jesus (evangelism) is a responsibility of all who have truly come to know Jesus Christ, whether pastor, elder, or church member. The Samaritan woman at the well, after her conversation with Jesus, ran home and said of Jesus that He told her all she had ever done. She told them of what she had heard and experienced with the person of Jesus. The Gospel is a message of light in a dark world; a message of love in a world impoverished of true love; a message of peace in a turbulent world; a message of joy in a world searching for true happiness. Let’s remember these words as we think about our responsibility and privilege to share the Gospel with those who do not know: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isaiah 52:7).
-Missionary Rev. Emad Tawadrous, Nebraska