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Wednesday, May 15, 1996

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St. Isidore the Farmer

Acts 17:15, 22—18:1
Psalm 148
John 16:12-15

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the humanly impossible, uncompromised, amazingly graced gospel

"When they heard about the raising of the dead, some sneered." —Acts 17:32

When Paul tried to preach the gospel to the Athenians, they called him a "magpie" (Acts 17:18) and sneered at him. Although a few became believers (Acts 17:34), this was probably the worst response to his preaching Paul had ever seen.

We also may see little or no response to our presentation of the gospel. The secular world for the most part either ignores or ridicules us. Because of this, many Christians and churches no longer proclaim the unadulterated gospel of Jesus' death and resurrection. They present some gospel-related novelties or entertainment, in which many people seem more interested.

However, when Paul saw the negative response of the Athenians to the gospel, he didn't find fault with the gospel itself. Rather, he faulted his presentation of the gospel. He thought the gospel wasn't accepted not because it wasn't watered down enough but because he had watered it down. Therefore, Paul determined that at his next place of ministry, Corinth (Acts 18:1), he "would speak of nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2).

We likewise need to present the pure gospel and not be ashamed of it (Rm 1:16). We must repent of watering down the gospel. When we present the truth of the gospel and forget about making the gospel easier for people to take, we will see many people accept the gospel—not because it was easy or because we were entertaining, but because of God's grace.

Prayer:  Father, may my presentation of the gospel be so pure that it is impossible to accept without Your grace.

Promise:  "When He comes, however, being the Spirit of truth He will guide you to all truth." — Jn 16:13

Praise:  Ralph had been witnessing to Carl, a coworker, about Jesus for years with no effect. Carl then accepted Jesus, repented of breaking the first, third, and sixth commandments, and was baptized into Jesus.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 10, 1995

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 13, 1995