A 2,000 Year Old Seed
I recently read a National Geographic article that made me think about the power of the Gospel. About 15 years ago archeologists were excavating the fortress of Masada (Where the Jews made their final stand against the Romans). In Herod the Great’s palace they discovered remarkably preserved seeds from a Judean date palm tree. This tree had been extinct for over 1,000 years. The Archaeologist wanted to experiment to see if this seed could still grow. Remarkably it did! A 2,000 year old seed is now a palm tree that is over 10 feet tall. It has been used to plant a grove of trees and scientists hope to study the species. Isn’t it amazing the power that is contained in seeds?
In Luke 8:11 in a parable Jesus compares the Word of God to seed. This is because once it is “planted” in human hearts it will grow and bear fruit. The seed that allowed us to be saved is over 2,000 years old just like that Judean date palm. In the same way the Gospel has not lost it’s power to change us. While much has changed in the world’s ideas about religion, culture, and worldview the Gospel has stayed relevant. Modern Americans can benefit from the exact same words that changed people’s hearts on the day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago. We still are pricked in the heart when realize our guilt and we repent and are baptized just as they were. This should not be surprising when we consider what was written in the New Testament.
Consider the following passages. Jude wrote, “I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3). There was no need for further revelation to each specific time and culture, the Gospel was handed down once for all. Paul wrote, “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Cor. 4:17). As an Apostle Paul taught truths that were intended for all. While each church certainly had their own personal instructions, the practices and doctrines for each church were standard. There was no need for a separate Gospel in Corinth and Jerusalem. The point is this, the same Gospel is for all men in all places and it always achieve the same result in the good soil of a heart, it makes people Christians!
The power to change hearts lies in the seed and the one who created the seed. Even with an amateur and unskilled teacher (or perhaps even no teacher at all) the Gospel has the power to change people. If we plant this seed by spreading the Gospel we can be convinced it will do exactly what it is supposed to do. It doesn’t need updating or distraction to be relevant. Also don’t let fear of miscommunication keep you from communicating at all. God is bigger than our stuttering and stammering, he is bigger than our timid and quiet voice or nervous presentation. He is all-powerful and His seed is powerful even thousands of years later!