Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been asked to do many things to help slow the spread of this very contagious virus. The two most important things suggested are that we wear a mask and practice social distancing. Indeed, these two practices have changed our society as well as our interactions with one another. The challenge has been trying to keep the virus from spreading.
In the beginning, the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was only known by a handful of people. The event did not occur with any news coverage, social media posts, or street reporting. The story of Jesus had only affected a few people, namely Jesus’ disciples. And even the disciples were unsure of what had happened. Outside of their small group, Jesus was not a well-known figure.
However, it did not take long for the news to get out. Overwhelmed with joy and good news, Jesus’ disciples began to tell the story of Jesus. The good news story of Jesus began to spread. People were hearing what God had done in Jesus and were drawn into a relationship with him. One by one, the Gospel message began to spread. And as it spread, this good news began to change people’s lives.
The apostle Paul is often credited as the individual who took the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles, everyone who was not a Jew. Paul, the once persecutor of Christians, now had a mission to spread the Gospel to all places and all people. Paul traveled extensively, telling others about Jesus and starting new churches. The story of Jesus was contagious, and more and more individuals accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
As recipients of the good news, Paul encouraged the new believers to continue it spread. In his letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul writes,“Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1) Paul desired that every person be exposed to the Gospel so that every person has the opportunity to become infected with the story of God’s love. This spread would occur when Jesus’ followers began to live out the Gospel in their lives.
Although we are 2000 years past the time of Jesus, we too are called to further the spread of the Gospel. Through our words and deeds, we must live lives that demonstrate our Gospel exposure, how it has changed us, and how it can bring life to all people. We can never be content to contain the good news of Jesus within the confines of our lives. Instead, we must continue to further the spread until it infects all people with God’s grace and love. An infection that leads not to death but life, both abundant life, and eternal life.
Collectively as the church, we must be a super spreader. Through our words and actions, we bear witness to the Gospel. We share the old, old story of Jesus and his love and embody that love in our actions. It is love that is highly contagious. We help continue its spread by living infectious lives that have the possibility of passing on God’s love to those around us. God’s love is contagious. We now must further its spread.