Jesus died on the cross for everyone so that we may receive the benefit of the gospel, Pastor Zhang Boli, former Tiananmen Square Protest Student Movement leader and well-known evangelist, shared at the Chinese University Chung Chi College Chapel. He emphasized that there are three powers of the gospel: forgiving sin, healing and defeating death.
Pastor Zhang quoted Romans 1:16-17 in the Bible to point out that after Jesus revealed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus and gave him a calling, Paul gave the wisdom and talent to spread the gospel for the rest of his life. Paul proclaimed, "[The gospel] is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes" and said that he was "not ashamed of the gospel" because he realized that Jesus died on the cross to save everyone, which "is neither Jew or gentile, slave or free". This was against Paul's old culture. He decided to tell everyone about the way of the cross.
Pastor Zhang also mentioned that when we seek the truth, we must come to the cross, because the gospel is the power of God. The power of the gospel can be categorized into three types - forgiving sin, healing, and defeating death.
The Gospel Has the Power to Forgive Sin
Pastor Zhang shared that he heard the gospel for the first time after the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989, which was the darkest year in his life. That year, he was a wanted criminal of the government, so he fled to a far North village in China. He was hiding in the home of a female farmer, a sister in Christ. Although she knew Zhang was a wanted criminal, she believed God brought him to her and evangelized to him boldly.
Pastor Zhang said he was a student of the Chinese Department at Peking University and attended a philosophy class on "Tao Fa Ru Mo (The Word of Mozi)". However, even the professor did not know what "Tao (Word)" is. The sister in Christ was uneducated, but after Zhang read the first chapter of her copy of the book of John, he felt instantly enlightened: "In the beginning was the Word" (Logos, Word). This Word existed before the universe. The Word existed from the beginning and will last forever. "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Word is Jesus.
He came to us full of grace and truth. He died for us on the cross. His blood was shed for us. This is the gospel. When we put our faith in Him and connect with Him, we are not only connected with Him in the form of death on the cross, but also in the form of resurrection. We have eternal life and death is no longer a curse. We can pass out of death into life. This fact of "pass out of death into life" is the "gospel".
Pastor Zhang decided to believe in Christ in the ice and snow at the border between China and the Soviet Union. Before he left, the sister in Christ reminded him to pray no matter what difficulties he encountered because God was a God of prayer. Later when he was in the Soviet prison, he told God all about his sin and felt all bitterness, hatred and hurt were all lifted. He felt like a new creation in Christ.
The Gospel Has the Power to Heal
Pastor Zhang referred to the cross as a cross of healing power. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) He said that when we come to Him because of difficulties, He will also heal us. It is also written in the Bible, "The punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5b)
He suffered from third stage kidney cancer for six years from 1989 to 1995. The doctor told him he would have at most three more years to live. He urgently sought God every day: "You are the Lord of passing out of death into life. You can heal me if you wish to heal me." In the end God healed his kidney cancer. When he was in the United States, God arranged a senator who recommended him to see a psychologist so that his body and heart were both healed.
The Gospel Defeated Death
Pastor Zhang suffered many hardships. He referred to death as suffering and isolation. However, the suffering that Jesus experienced on the cross had become humanity's hope and savior. Without the suffering of Jesus on the cross, we would not have hope today. Therefore, suffering is not always a bad thing. It can be a blessing in disguise that refines us to be purer and to love Him more.
He pointed out that God gave us the power to pass out of curse into eternal life; pass out of sufferings into peace; pass out of sorrow into joy. This is the power of the gospel. He made us into a brand new creation.
Pastor Zhang testified that God is real and knows all his sorrows. God helped him solve the 10 million dollars of medical expenses he owed during the hospital stay, so he did not have to carry this debt and was able to study theology, enter the mission field, build churches for God, harvest the crops and feed God's sheep. He is very grateful for what God has done in his life.
(Source: Gospel Herald)