The Good News?

Mar 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Sometimes we believe certain things in a certain way and never really ask the obvious question that is staring right at us. I have had this happen to myself many times on my Christ journey and the interesting thing that I have discovered is how slow I am at times to acknowledge what I am seeing. Perhaps this slowness is due to some form of insecurity or maybe even the need to fit in amongst my peers. Whatever the answer may be, at least today I find myself willing to move beyond that point and trust in what I am discovering.

Let us begin with “The Gospel” A.K.A. “the Good News”. When I listen to what is proclaimed in regards to the gospel, I can’t help but think to myself that this is not the gospel that Jesus taught. On the outside it sounds solid, but something is just not quite right. It reminds me of Hugh Grant in “2 Weeks Notice” where he and Sandra Bullock are on the rooftop eating cheesecake, and after taking a bite he says, “something’s amuck with this cake” to which Sandra Bullock replies “it’s tofu”. It looks like cheesecake in every way until you partake of it, and something just isn’t quite right. Anyways, back to the gospel.

The first time we find the word gospel in scripture is in Matthew chapter 4 verse 23 “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” His message was “the Gospel of the kingdom” and if we look back to verse 17, then the picture becomes clearer. “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The message of Jesus was the same as John the Baptist’s message, and that was to repent (alter your thinking, change your perspective) for the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God is at hand or here now. Jesus was proclaiming that heaven and God are here, the problem was that we could not see it externally thus the need to alter our thinking or perspective from an external literal to an internal reality.

Let us continue. In Luke chapter 4:42-43 we find the following: “When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them. But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” According to this scripture, the purpose of Jesus being sent to us was to proclaim that God is here now, God is with you now, open your blind eyes and see that you are not forsaken, God has never left you. Later in Luke chapter 9 we find Jesus sending out the twelve disciples to proclaim the kingdom of God (the good news) which again is that God is here now. Interesting if we look at Mark 16:15 we find Jesus (after the resurrection) sending the disciples out into all the world and preach the gospel. Was it now a different gospel? We have gone from alter your thinking for God is here, to be sorry for the bad things you have done, say this prayer and you won’t have to go to hell. I won’t mention the other requirements that start to creep in to maintain this good news. What has happened?

I believe part of the answer can be found in the Book of Galatians. Now the theme of this book is all about staying in grace and not falling back into the need to qualify A.K.A. the law. In the first chapter I find verses 6 and 7 interesting. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.”  A different gospel, to distort the gospel of Christ. Remember that Christ’s gospel was to alter our thinking and perspective for heaven or God is here. We are to renew our minds to think like God thinks, to have the mind of Christ.

Often, we have heard the phrase “To fall from Grace” and we have made it some form of bad thing we have done whereas grace is the gift freely given by God that requires nothing, otherwise it would not be a gift but rather something earned. To fall from grace is to slip back into the need to qualify and Paul strongly addresses this in Galatians 3:1-3 “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

Here Paul is addressing the other gospel (the need to qualify) and asking about who has bewitched you, who has cast a spell over you, who has blinded you so that you would think that you can do something to qualify for God’s free gift. Remember that the world around us is based on qualifications and if we are honest with ourselves, we can see the need for that in our culture. When it comes to our relationship with God, this type of thinking (worldly) robs from us the reality of oneness we have in Christ. This worldly thinking blinds us to the reality that is right before us and causes us to jump through hoops trying to be good enough or trying to qualify. Remember this, our journey is not that of trying to attain or qualify for anything, our journey is that of discovery. We are to discover that we are created in the image and likeness of God and God is always with us and the only thing that can steel that from us is our own distorted thinking.

Remember that God is here now, heaven is here now. Don’t try to see it with your natural eyes, allow the inner eyes of your heart to be opened. Allow yourself to see things from a different perspective, allow yourself to see beyond what you can control, God won’t reject you, in fact His arms are wide open waiting for you to discover what you have always had but may have not yet discovered. Now that is GOOD NEWS!


One response to “The Good News?”

  1. David w Mcgrew Avatar
    David w Mcgrew

    Good read Michael. ‘Good news’ is used a few times in the older testament (Septuagint) and is worth the read sometime.

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