How God’s Word Went Viral #startedwithaplan
John starts off his gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The Word this passage is talking about isn’t a written word that passes away or deteriorates as our minds and bodies do. Unlike a written word on paper, this Word is the means by which God communicates His will to mankind. Since the beginning, it has been passed down from generation to generation and penetrated all cultural barriers.
Like all words, however, this word needed an audience. God created this audience in Genesis. Before time even began, God created a plan, or purpose, to distribute His word to this new audience. This was not because this audience deserved His word, but because He wanted to give it to them through His Grace (2 Timothy 1:9).
God started to execute His plan at the very beginning, when He created man. Man was made in His image, which gave him the free will to accept or reject the word. In Genesis 2, God told man he could “eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” he could not eat, or he would surely die (Genesis 2:15). Of course, the temptation for man was too great, and he rejected God for his own selfish desires in Genesis 3. God said in verse 15 that man will bruise the devil’s head, and the devil will bruise man’s heel. This was a pivotal point in God’s plan, because it established free will and put enmity between man’s offspring and the devil. It created this fight throughout time that we still see today between good and evil that caused some to rise by choosing the word, and some to fall by rejecting it.
This pattern of rejection continued. By the time Abraham came along, God had already destroyed His audience once through a flood due to the blatant rejection of His word and started over with a new audience through the descendants of Noah. Throughout Abraham’s life, God made three promises that were crucial to His plan. “I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 26:4). God chose Abraham’s offspring to continue the fulfillment of his plan because he accepted His word.
A couple of generations after Abraham, one of his descendants, Joseph, was sold into slavery by his brothers. After ending up in Egypt and interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph became one of the most powerful men in Egypt, only second to Pharaoh. Joseph’s rise to power was a part of God’s plan. A famine in the land reunited him with his brothers. Soon after, Joseph’s father, his family, and his servants all settled in Goshen. Because of Joseph and God’s plan, Abraham’s descendants were allowed to multiply “as the stars of heaven” (Genesis 26:4). This was the fulfillment of God’s first promise to Abraham.
After Joseph died, a Pharaoh came into rule that did not know Joseph and enslaved Abraham’s offspring. God sent a descendant of Abraham named Moses to lead His people out of slavery and into the land flowing with milk and honey. After 10 plagues, escaping Egyptian captivity, and 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Abraham’s offspring finally made it to Canaan. Because Moses disobeyed God’s specific orders, he was not allowed to lead the people in. God appointed Joshua to lead Israel in and conquer the land. Once the land was conquered, they divided the land between the 12 tribes of Israel fulfilling God’s second promise to Abraham (Joshua 23:14).
The fulfillment of God’s final promise ends with the beginning of the New Testament. God sent His Son, the Word, to live among men as a man. He was born of a virgin as the prophecies noted, and He lived a perfect selfless life, creating a following and distributing God’s word wherever He went. Jesus Christ was a direct descendent of Abraham. His birth fulfilled God’s third and final promise to Abraham: “...in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 26:4).
God’s 3 promises to Abraham were always part of His plan from before time even began. Each fulfillment of His promises sets the stage for the final parts of His plan. If you think about it, the fulfillment of the offspring promise created and cultivated the perfect audience for God’s word to spread throughout the world. The promised land gave the Israelites a safe place to continue multiplying and is located where people could easily travel the known world spreading God’s word more effectively. Finally, God sent His Son to deliver His word personally, and in doing so created a loyal gathering that, in some cases, was willing to die in order to follow and teach God’s word.
After Jesus’ time on earth was done, He cried, “It is finished,” and breathed His last. God’s perfect planning before time even began set the stage for the most viral word the world has ever seen. Because of this plan, God’s word has been passed down from generation to generation and has weaved itself into every culture and language. Those who have rejected God’s word can neither deny how viral it has become and the impact it has made on our history and culture, nor can they prove it wrong or destroy His word despite its trial time and time again. Nations have been built upon it, and religions are based upon it. No matter who you are, where you are, or what you’re doing, everything is influenced by God’s word and His plan to share it.
“[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel...” (2 Timothy 1:9-10)