How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” – Isaiah 52:7
Christians use the terms “gospel” and “good news” a lot, but do we really know what they mean and where they came from? According to C. Clifton Black, “the good news” (or “gospel” = “good spiel”) is a literal translation of the Greek word euangelion. New Testament authors use this term to mean the news of salvation, or liberation from sin, brokenness, and estrangement from God. God reveals this good news through Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection.’”(1)
I know that it is no news flash that there is a lot of bad news in the world around us. There is sickness, death, natural disasters, murder, theft, job loss, divorce, bankruptcy, the list goes on and on. I’m sad to say that sometimes I allow the bad news in the world around me to influence me more than the good news of Jesus and all of the amazing things that He has done in my life. I have been asking myself the past few weeks if those around me feel more uplifted or dragged down after spending time with me.
When I accepted Christ in my early 20’s I was so on fire for Jesus! I had discovered something that the world could never give me and I was on a mission to make sure that everyone around me experienced salvation and freedom in Christ too. When you have good news you want to share it: When you have REALLY good news you can’t contain your excitement to tell everyone and anyone who will listen! All was going so well in the first few months of my new walk with Jesus until a colleague at work burst my bubble one day by telling me, “Len, if Jesus is anything like you I don’t want anything to do with Him.” I have to tell you that those words stung, but I am so thankful that my colleague had the courage to speak up and deliver hard truth.
My heart was in the place, but my mouth and my methods were seriously wanting. It’s hard to open the Good News of Jesus when it’s enveloped in arrogance and delivered in judgement. He had to teach me that it’s the Holy Spirit’s role it is to convict and soften men’s hearts to receive the good news of the gospel, not ours. Jesus called us to spread good news to those around us, not try to “fix” them.
I have to say that I’m still nothing like Jesus. I’m still a sinful, broken man who has great hope and comfort knowing that Jesus loves me despite my faults. He loves you too! My prayer for you and for me is that we will stop trying to take the place of God and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help to break free from the bad news and offer the really, really good news of Christ to a dark and hurting world.
In Jeff Vanderstelt’s book, Gospel Fluency, Jeff wrote, “Too often, when giving people answers to their questions or solutions to their problems, we give them something other than Jesus. If they are struggling with their finances, we give them the best budgeting plans we know of. If they are working through relational discord, we teach them communication techniques. If they are struggling with doubt, we challenge them to just believe, promising that all will get better if they do. But we fail to give them Jesus.”
So how about it? Do people feel more uplifted and inspired when hanging around us or more downtrodden? Are we sharing and promoting Jesus with the world or are we sharing and promoting ourselves? Dear Jesus please forgive us when we make it more about us than about you. Please fill us with your Holy Spirit and give us wisdom and discernment and help us to be vehicles to deliver the really, super fantastic, miraculous, good news of Jesus with everyone around us in our actions and words.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” – Luke 4:14-20