Have you ever heard of Twitter? It’s a social networking
platform that launched in 2006 to give computer and smart-phone users the
ability to instantly post very short messages that are limited to 140
characters or less. Almost everyone tweets—from people like Kanye West and
Britney Spears, all the way up to the President of the United States. But as
Solomon wrote: “There is nothing
new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
But social media isn’t as “cutting edge” as we think. Before
the Tweet deck or the somewhat older Facebook wall, there was the local tavern.
Romans used to write brief comments on stone walls – posting greetings,
proclaiming their love and even grumbling about the media content of the day.
Here are a couple of their ancient “Tweets” that I found pretty amusing:
- “Secondus sends many and
perpetual greetings to Onesimus.”
- “Oh wall, I am amazed you
haven’t fallen down, since you bear tedious scribbling of so many writers.”
And if you thought chat rooms were an invention of the
modern digital age, think again. During the 19th century, telegraph
operators used to go “on-line” to tell jokes, play chess and even fall in love.
These types of social media have been around in one form or
another since the time of Christ. And that got me thinking: if Jesus was online
today, what would he tweet? Could he fit the good news of the gospel into a
single 140-character message? Many theologians have actually wrestled with this
very issue. And time and time again they come back with the same answer: Yes.
It looks like this: “For
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
John 3:16 is probably one of the most well-known verses in
the Bible. And on top of that, it’s been translated into over 1,200 different
languages. Martin Luther called it “the gospel in miniature” because it
perfectly illustrates the loving nature of our Creator God. He loved us so much
that no matter who we were, where we were or what sin we’d already committed,
he sent his only Son to save us.
It’s a verse that gives us hope in Christ, and affirms God’s
ultimate purpose for us all: not to perish – but to live in communion with him.
Now that’s a message we can all re-Tweet!