When we look at the world today, it is hard to stay positive. The news lately has been very depressing. In Edmonton, the murder total continues to rise. Stories of child abuse and human trafficking continue to fill the headlines. Natural disasters seem to be on the rise. I’m not even bringing up what we hear and see south of the border!
The news anchors on television seem to be the bearers of bad news, the Old Testament prophets of doom. In the Bible, we read about bad news as well. Humanity is lost in sin, cursed, and enemies of God.
But the Bible also speaks about Good News. One of the greatest Christian statements in the Bible is “I bring to you the good news.” As I was thinking about all the doom and gloom we see in the world, the thought about Good News came to mind. As Christians, we say that our message is good news. I want us to look at the Good News, what it is and what it means to you and me today.
The first thing we need to understand about the Good News is that it is good news that Jesus died for our sins. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried…” That is the first point of the Gospel. As beings trapped and lost in our sins, Jesus, through His death, paid the price so that we could be forgiven.
In John 15:13,14, Jesus spells out to the disciples what love is. He says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
1st Lieutenant John Robert Fox was directing artillery fire in the Italian town of Sommocolonia to stall a German advance. While Fox was directing fire, a large German force moved in on his position. Realizing that this force was a huge threat to his men, Fox called a final artillery strike—on himself. When his men eventually retook the position, Fox’s body was found next to approximately 100 dead German troops and a medal was placed neatly on his chest.
Even more so, Christ did that for us. Our sin made us more than lost and separated from God. The book of Romans says we were enemies of God. But in spite of that, Christ died and paid the penalty for our behalf.
The second thing we need to understand about the Good news is that it is good news that Jesus rose again on the third day. Again, the rest of verse 3, “that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” None of us like to talk about death, but death is a reality each of us will face until the Lord returns.
In John 11, John records the story of the raising of Lazarus. This story gave the disciples a glimpse of what was yet to come. For us today, Jesus’ resurrection demonstrates to us that physical death is not the end.
I do want to point out here that Jesus was not reincarnated. Some people believe that He was. The fact is, in eastern thought, reincarnation is NOT the best scenario. To be reincarnated, even as a person, means you didn’t quite make it. In eastern thought, reincarnation is a bad thing, because it means you have to do it again and try to get it all right this time. If Jesus was reincarnated, it means He wasn’t perfect and not God’s Son and His death was not sufficient for our forgiveness.
The resurrection of Jesus is the MOST important part of the Gospel, the Good News. I think as Christians, we have missed the point of the resurrection. Christ’s death was important – we received forgiveness, but it is the resurrection of Jesus that offers us so much more.
Because of the Resurrection, we have hope – there is more after we die. We have peace – Jesus has conquered death; verse 55, Where O death is your victory, where O death is your sting. We have power – Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who lives in you.” And Philippians 3:10 says, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings becoming like Him in His death.” People who don’t know what happens when they die don’t know God can give them life and so much more.
Paul lays out the reason for our hope and the message we have to share with the world. The Christian life is hard. We face many challenges that can cause us to doubt and even stumble. I read an article called “Why I quit ministry.” The author gave good reasons why a person should give up, but if you really believe in the message of the Good News, there is no reason to quit. In verse 58, Paul writes, “Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm, let nothing move you, always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” As a church community, we could make a huge impact in our community and world if we really became passionate about God and about the good news that we have to share.
My challenge today is two-fold. Firstly, have you experienced the message of the Good News? Have you received forgiveness and do you live a life of hope, peace, and power? If not, this is a great opportunity to make that decision.
The second part is for those of us who have trusted in Jesus, those of us who have experienced the hope, peace, and power in our lives. What is holding us back from being what God wants us to be and doing the things He wants from us? If we truly believe in a Christ who died and rose again, who has given us all things, there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for Him. So my challenge for us moving forward is to allow “that same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead” to move in our lives and motivate us to become all that God wants us to be and to do all that God has planned for us.
God has a plan for each of us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. But to do that, we need to experience the Good News for ourselves and share it with others. May God grant us joy and boldness to enjoy Him as we should and share Him as He commands.