A few years ago my wife and I had the pleasure of an extended vacation on the beautiful island of Guam. Guam is the home of Anderson AFB, a large Navy base, and I hear soon, a Marine outpost.
One day we took a day to drive around the island, to meet some native people, sample some native table fare, and see the breath-taking scenery that appears in every direction. As we drove though the countryside, a road side sign caught my attention.
I immediately remembered the story of Shoichi Yokoi, a Japanese soldier who lived for almost 30 years in a cave eating nuts, fruits, rats, snails, etc., and wearing clothing made from tree bark. Mr. Yokoi was imprisoned by his own fears and lack of accurate information. At the end of WWII when the U.S. forces defeated the Japanese and took control of Guam they dropped leaflets saying the hostilities had ended, the Japanese had surrendered, and every Japanese soldier was free to lay down his arms and come out of hiding, the war was over!
Mr. Yokoi believed the leaflets to be American propaganda and was convinced that every Japanese fighting man would live by the Imperial pledge “Never surrender alive”. He was convinced the war was not over, and even if it was he would not surrender. He was discovered by two farmers as he was fishing in the Talofofo River in 1972 and was soon returned to his homeland with a hero’s welcome.
Today as I listened to our preacher talk about the priority of the gospel, (“good news”) I thought of this poor man who had lived in self-imposed slavery because he had not believed the good news when he heard it. I also thought of the tens of millions who have not heard the good news about Jesus and what he has done for them.
As ambassadors of Jesus we are to announce the “good news” far and wide. You see, many people don’t know the war is over. They are not aware that they have been reconciled to God by the death of Jesus. And, most of them don’t understand that they have offended God so that until and unless they believe the good news and appropriate that reconciliation for themselves they stand condemned.
What good news it is to announce that Jesus has set the sinner free! He has borne their sins, died in their place, and offers eternal life and an eternity with Him to all who will believe.
Unfortunately, some will hear the news and refuse to believe it. Some will believe it and receive great blessing by God’s grace. Still others will believe it and yet live in fear that the war is not really over.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)
19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:19-21)
Good News…The War is Over !