Davidson strives to present Jesus clearly
By Brian Koonce
ST. LOUIS – Gerald Davidson went back to basics with his presidential address Oct. 27 at the 174th annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). The pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church, Arnold, and outgoing MBC president chose to preach on one single bare-bones concept: Jesus.
“Twenty centuries have come and gone,” he said, “and I am well within my mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that have ever reigned have not affected the life of man upon the earth as much as one solitary life. His name is Jesus.”
Davidson’s text was Luke 1:30-33: “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’”
Despite that plain description, the world today doesn’t hold a clear or accurate picture of Jesus, Davidson said.
“We can talk about God in our society and get away with it,” he said. “But when you start talking about Jesus Christ it’s a different story.”
When people do talk about Jesus, they talk about the wrong Jesus, Davidson said.
“People have a lot of ideas about why Christ came,” he said. “He came to teach us how to live.’ He did that. ‘He came to tear down the hypocrisy of the Jewish synagogue.’ He did that. But why did He really come? He tells us very clearly that He came to seek and save that which was lost.”
Davidson on went say that it isn’t enough to simply know who and what Jesus is.
“For too long we’ve treated Jesus as a genie in a lamp to help with a battle,” he said. “Jesus is concerned about every need we have but that’s not why He came. He came to save the lost. I’m afraid that Missouri Baptists and Baptists across the nation have gotten too caught up in bickering, fussing and fighting when we need to get down to business and preach Jesus Christ and salvation through Him.”
Even the most basic truths of Jesus bear repeating, even when the crowd is full of people who profess His name. Davidson told a story of a mission trip to Mexico that took him past a huge Roman Catholic cathedral. The locals took him inside and excitedly pointed him toward a casket, which held a depiction of Jesus.
“He isn’t in some casket in Mexico!” he said. “He’s at the right hand of God Himself!”
Davidson finished with a final question and a final challenge: Jesus – What is He doing?
“He’s drawing,” he said. “Listen to John 12:32: ‘If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Me.’ The reason He isn’t drawing more is because we aren’t lifting Him up high enough. I challenge you: preach the Word, preach doctrinally, preach against sin, but always preach Jesus Christ and the cross.”