Should we CONTAIN the glorious ‘GOSPEL’ within OVERSELVES? Then I said, "I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name." But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not. (Jer. 20:9)
In the above passage, prophet Jeremiah allows the reader to see his inner turmoil in the midst of his continuous persecution. In public he was fearless, but in private he expressed the depth of his inner emotions to God directly. The emotions that Jeremiah experienced went from joy (v. 13) to despair (vv. 14–18), from bold proclamation (vv. 1–6) to burdened prayer (vv. 7–12).
In verses 7–18, Jeremiah regrets his unpopular ministry and tries to suspend his prophetic activity, but to no avail. He wanted to stop delivering the unpopular message of Babylonian captivity, but could not! In fact, Jeremiah decided to refrain from declaring God’s word or speaking in His name. But the divine message could not be held within or in any way hindered from accomplishing God’s purpose (see Isaiah 46:10, 11; 55:11). God’s word was like a consuming fire that so burned within his heart that he found it impossible for him to remain silent (see Amos 3:8). Unlike the heart of the people, Jeremiah’s mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual life was overwhelmed by God’s word and will for His people. The word of the Lord burned like a fire within him!
Just like Jeremiah had the prophetic word flamed “like a fire” within him that he was unable to contain it, we also have a message to deliver to others. This message is none other than the wonderful and glorious gospel that Christ has entrusted to us called the ‘Great Commission’: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16)
Apart from giving us this message, Christ has also given us the necessary authority (Matt. 28:18), the needed power (Acts 1:8) as well as His abiding presence (Matt. 28:20) to help us fulfill our task. We are now ‘ministers of reconciliation’ as we have the task of reconciling sinners to Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20). This message is like a burning fire shut up in our bones, and like prophet Jeremiah let us be bold so as to proclaim the gospel in the face of unpopularity and opposition from friends and society at large.
We cannot and should not contain the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ within ourselves as it our mandate and responsibility to proclaim it to others. Can we take a decision today to be bearers of the good news to all our friends, acquaintances and neighbors? This is what God expects from our lives today and always!