SHARING the GOSPEL is OUR RESPONSIBILITY: Then they (the four lepers) said to one another, "We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent" (2 Kings 7:9a).
The king of Syria sent his army against Samaria, and surrounded the capital city. With the city surrounded, the people could not go out to get food. A terrible famine gripped the city. Food became so scarce that the head of a donkey sold for two pounds of silver. A pint or two of dove dung sold for about two ounces of silver. The people were starving in this desperate situation. They actually resorted to cannibalism. Outside the city wall sat four lepers. They were not allowed into the city because of their leprosy. They were in an even worse situation than the people inside the city walls.
The story of these four lepers is told to us in 2 Kings 7:3-10, and there are five things we can learn from them:
- They were leprous (2Kings 7:3a). Leprosy in the Bible is often spoken of as a type of sin. Leprosy speaks of sin as in the blood, becoming overt in loathsome ways and incurable by human means (Scofield Study Bible, note on Leviticus 13:1). Leprosy is a picture of man's totally depraved condition, ruined by sin (Isaiah 1:4-6). This is a terrible description of man's sinful nature "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1), which was our state before salvation.
- They were outsiders (2 Kings 7:3a) at the entrance of the gate. In the parable of the ‘Prodigal Son’ we read that both of these brothers were outside salvation (Luke 15:13, 25, 28) not understanding the love of their father. Just as these lepers were shut out of the city and the two brothers of the ‘Prodigal Son’ parable, we were also shut out of salvation without God.
- They were dying (2 Kings 7:4) of starvation. Our state was also the same as "Death has passed upon all men" (Romans 5:12), and "It is appointed unto men once to die" (Hebrews 9:27).
- They used reason (2 Kings 7:3b) to find a solution to their problem. God has said: "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow…" (Isaiah 1:8). The only solution out of eternal death is to use our reason and turn to God by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
- They rose up and got what they needed (2 Kings 7:5, 8). There is a great evangelistic truth illustrated from the riches that the lepers got from the abandoned Syrian camp. It speaks of "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7) and "…the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God…" (Romans 11:33) that we have stumbled upon as well like the lepers.
As we relate the story of these four lepers to our lives, we are like the four lepers who have discovered the true riches of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. This is truly “good news” that we should not keep to ourselves. Are we keeping silent or are we telling people we know who are trapped in sin and darkness of the glorious way out? Think about Andrew in the New Testament who was always bringing someone to Jesus. First, it was his brother Peter (John 1:41), then it was a young boy (John 6:8-9); later, he, along with Philip, brought a group of Greeks to Jesus (John 12:22). He knew what he had and he wanted to share it with others.
Let us understand that sharing the gospel is both our commission and our responsibility! In obedience to Acts 1:8, let us take efforts to be a witness of the saving knowledge of the gospel today!