It was around 1865 that John Wesley Work, Jr. wrote the words to the African-American spiritual “Go Tell It on the Mountain”.
One of the verses of the song goes like this:
Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born
And God send us salvation,
That blessed Christmas morn:
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.
I can just read the excitement in the song writer’s mind as he pens these words. Go tell EVERYONE! That Jesus Christ was born! This world’s only means of salvation has been given to us by Almighty God in the gift of His Son, Jesus. He writes, “Go tell it on the Mountain, over the hills, and everywhere!!! Yet, I wonder how many of us bother to tell anyone about the only means of their salvation. We’re all caught up living our own lives, experiencing the temporary pleasures of this life, and besides that, someone may get mad at us or not like it if we tell them about their need for a Savior.
I’ve recently read the true story of a soldier during World War II who was being pursued by German forces across Norway. He had to stay clear of all of the villages and other places which German forces had occupied, and he had to hike across mountains covered with winter’s snow and ice.
At one point in the story, he was hiking across a mountain range, trying to reach the border of Sweden, which was neutral in the war, and where he could find freedom, and a way home. As he was hiking, a blizzard came up, and he was lost in the blowing snow and cold. He made a wrong step, and slid/fell off the side of a mountain, and was buried deep in snow. His feet soon became frostbitten, and his eyesight was almost lost to snow blindness.
He stumbled around for a long time, before finding a cabin at the edge of a small village on the side of a fjord in Norway. After fumbling around to the front of the cabin and finding the door with his hands, he opened the door and to the surprise of the people inside fell on the floor just inside the cabin.
The people inside the cabin along with a few other concerned villagers spent the next few weeks caring for him, and trying to get him back to good enough health so he could continue his flight to Sweden. All during the time they cared for him, they had to keep him hidden from German troops that occupied the village, and from any nosy neighbors who might possibly report his presence to the Germans. The family in this cabin literally risked certain death (if caught) to help this stranger whom they had never met before. They hid him in an abandoned cabin on the other side of the fjord, and would bring him food and stuff to keep him alive while he recovered.
As the young soldier lay hidden away in that old cabin, his feet developed gangrene and it soon became apparent that he would never walk over the mountains and to freedom on his own. He would either die, be found by the Germans and sent to a concentration camp or killed, or else the people in that village had to find a way to get him across the 3000 foot high mountains and to safety.
Eventually in the true story, four men from the village built a sled. The interesting part about that was, they built it right in front of the Germans in a wood shop, risking their lives. They then wrapped the wounded sick soldier in blankets, and tied him to the sled. Then for several long laborious days, they snuck him out of the abandoned cabin and up over the mountains to safety. During this ordeal, they suffered broken ribs, and other personal injuries. And they almost slid off the mountain side in an avalanche. Yet, they risked everything to get this young man to the safety he needed.
And I’ve just very briefly summarized all the painful, dangerous, and life-threatening things that happened in people’s lives as they willingly risked it all to help a young man they knew nothing about. They knew he was in danger, they knew he would be killed by German soldiers if found, and they knew they themselves would be shot or sent to a concentration camp, and even their families too, if they were caught in helping him escape. However, none of those things stopped them.
As I read this story, I stopped to think about how many people whom we come across in our daily lives are in danger of dying and spending eternity in hell, how many lives are being ruined because they need to know Jesus Christ. But, how often do we risk anything at all, let alone our lives, to tell them the news that we know. The news that the Apostle John so wonderfully reminds us of, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
Go tell it to everyone – everywhere! Jesus is the answer to ALL their problems, and YOUR’s as well!!