You may have heard the tale about the old fellow who confided to a friend that he had never eaten a banana.
That friend bought a bunch of bananas and had them delivered to the old fellow’s house. Later, he asked him if he liked the bananas.
“They’re OK,” he said, “but once you throw the core away, there’s not much left of them.”
That’s also true of the gospel. If we toss aside the core of the gospel, we’ve tossed aside the best part.
Ken Hansen, a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church in Owenton, Ky., shared the banana tale the other day. I think it contains an important nugget of truth for Christians to hold tight to the core of the gospel, which is that Jesus offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who believe in Him.
Perhaps we’ve all had an opportunity to hear televised sermons in which the name of Jesus is rarely mentioned, in which people are essentially given Sunday morning pep talks, even though the Bible tells us clearly “there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Act 4:12).
Scripture tells us about the great power in the name of Jesus, because “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13) and “at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
If we toss aside the core of the gospel, people will not hear the most important message of all time, that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him.
The gospel calls for us to believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ, his only son, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, who arose from the dead on the third day, and who ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father where He makes intercession for his people.
The word gospel means good news. And it certainly is good news that, through Jesus, a botched past can be redeemed and what would have been a dim future can be made bright.
So, go ahead, toss aside the core of a banana if you must. But, by all means, hang on tight to the core of the gospel.
Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.