John Robinson faced a dilemma. He had constructed a bridge across the Mississippi to connect two cities. It was the first of its kind (at least the first large bridge of its kind). It was made of steel girders and a cantilever form. It looked beautiful. So what was the problem? No one would use it. They didn’t believe that the bridge would be able to withstand the weight of heavy traffic, and who wants to be the one that causes the bridge to collapse? Robinson was incredulous. It was made of steel! However, being the creative man that he is, he went to the manager of a circus that was traveling through and asked to borrow an elephant. It was believed that elephants could “smell danger.” If the elephant found the bridge safe, so would the people. On June 14, 1874, he threw together a make-shift parade as the elephant made its way to Eads Bridge in St. Louis. Sure enough, the elephant crossed the bridge to East St. Louis, as the people followed suit. The bridge was strong enough–powerful enough–to withstand them all.
Why do I tell you this story? Because that’s the way it is with the gospel message. It is like Eads Bridge. As believers, we look at the gospel and see it as beautiful, graceful, and magnificent. We are indeed proud of the gospel. But what we doubt is its strength. So when we have the opportunity to share the gospel with someone else, we tend not to. We tend to shy away from it because we somehow believe that we are going to be the ones to make it crumble. In other words, we’re going to mess things up. We won’t have all the answers. We’re going to stumble our way through. We’re going to offend or mix up terminology. The whole thing is just going to collapse and we made it happen. So rather than fail, and fall with the collapsed bridge, we’d rather just not go there in the first place. This shows a misunderstanding of the weight of our abilities. At the same time, it reveals our distrust in the firmness and strength of the gospel. Thus, we waver.
Read the words that Paul wrote; read them carefully: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the power. It is the strength. It is the ability. I am sure that Eads Bridge had its weight limit, but it has been 145 years and it has not collapsed yet. There is no weight limit to the gospel message. It can hold us all (even if we get our words mixed up, don’t have the answers, don’t come off as the brightest bulb in the box). Remember these words: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lets the cross of Christ be emptied of its power,” (1 Corinthians 1:17). Christ has not called us to be the brightest bulb in the box. He hasn’t called us to use perfect words or memorize some gospel presentation. The power is not in the presentation. The power is not in the person’s knowledge. The power is in the gospel. It can and will hold us up. We need not fear our inabilities, but believe in the power of the cross, the power of the gospel.
That being said. . . if you have about 6 minutes, I would encourage you to watch this video from Tim Keller on boasting in the blood. I promise it will be worth your time.