During the carnage that became known as the Battle of Gettysburg back during the Civil War, the Confederate forces who made the ill-fated ‘Pickett’s Charge’ on the Union lines were being cut to ribbons as they moved forward. At one point, the Confederates encountered a fence that they had to stop and cross while undergoing intense enemy fire. As the troops took cover and realized the absolute futility of the attack, a number of the men simply turned around and headed back toward their own lines. It wasn’t a matter of desertion or cowardice. They just realized that they were heading into certain death on a hopeless mission.
One of the greatest pieces of evidence that testifies to the power and the authenticity of the gospel is the way that the apostles went on to lay down their lives for what they knew to be true. James was killed with the sword. Peter was crucified in Rome. John was exiled on Patmos. Paul was beheaded. It doesn’t make much sense to give your life for a lost cause. They willingly faced martyrdom with confidence because they knew with certainty that Christ had died on the cross and had risen again from the grave.
The disciples and the early church charged straight into the ‘guns’ of the world because they had seen the risen Christ! They knew Him to be alive! They went out with courage and determination to preach His gospel among the nations. Many came to faith in Christ as the result of their faithfully sharing His message with others. When we preach Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, people will be saved. The church will be built. God will be glorified. Jesus is alive, and the grave is not the end for those who trust in Him. We must go into the world as confident gospel witnesses.
For more, read Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Revelation 21:5