We say the coming of Jesus is good news (the gospel), but what makes it good? How can something be good news when there is a lot of talk about going to hell if you don’t believe in Jesus? Is the “good news” (gospel) of Jesus really so good?
It is widely accepted that a man named Jesus lived in Galilee and taught 2000 years ago. People disagree, however, on the whether he was just a good teacher, a prophet, or the messiah––the son of God.
It take little faith to believe Jesus was a good teacher with some wisdom humanity. One must simply recognize the life of simplicity and loving message Jesus broadly spoke about to find something good to implement into one’s own life. Like any teacher, modern or ancient, the parts of his teachings we like we can take and apply and dismiss the rest as either being overly zealous or culturally irrelevant.
But to believe Jesus was the Messiah take belief to a whole new level. To accepts such a claim makes a person either the biggest fool or wisest sage. Having met many professing Christians, it would seem these people are more likely the fool than the sage.
A follower of Christ will only be shown as wise if Jesus turns out to be the messiah. This seems a risky gamble since a person won’t find out until after death. So what would possess a person and make them put their faith in such a man? Is it desperation? Is it ignorance? Is it that some people want something to be true so badly that they allow themselves to believe that a magical fairy man in the sky will save them from all their problems if they agree to obey a set of strict rules? Or, is there something that actually possess them and changes the way they view the world?
The Announcement of Jesus as the Christ
The birth of Jesus was first announced to Mary. She was blessed to be the first to receive the good news of the gospel. Since this first proclamation, the good news has been told countless times.
Following up on the theme of last week’s post, I want to point out the role the Holy Spirit plays in the announcement of the good news of the gospel. As was discussed last week, the Holy Spirit played a major role in the Christmas story. It was the Spirit’s work, after all, that demonstrated the truth of what the angel had said. If it were not for the Spirit working in Mary, then Jesus would not have been born and the announcement of the gospel would have been meaningless and false.
We see the Spirit work throughout the NT in similar ways, and we take it as a common unseen substance in stories of healings and other miracles. We forget, however, that the Spirit is equally involved in bringing the knowledge of Jesus’ identity to people, such as the disciples (Matthew 16:13-17). In these instances, the gospel writers explicitly point it out so we are sure to grasp the Spirit’s significance.
Just as it was with the announcement of Jesus’ birth to Mary, we need the Spirit to demonstrate the truth of Jesus’ lordship to those we proclaim the gospel message to today. We think because we are so different from the original audience of Scripture and our worlds are completely different that we have somehow progressed beyond relying on certain behaviors or thinking that the ancient people did.
This may be true to an extent and in many areas of life, but it is not true when it comes to believing the foolishness of the gospel. We must still rely on the Holy Spirit to work faith in us so that we can believe that God chose to overcome the world through meekness instead of by might. He conquered the world by giving his life rather than taking the lives of others. This makes no sense to us. This seems so illogical to how we think and to what we know is effective. But we are called to believe it and replicate it if we are to follow Christ and make him our lord.
Why Is This Good News?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is only good news if you believe it. Not because you will go to hell if you don’t (although that is a consequence). The gospel can only be experienced as good news once you believe it. A person is unable to see what lies beyond the veil until they take the step of faith and look beyond it. Only then can a person experience the joy that is the gospel.
Our lives change when we accept Jesus. We choose to accept a new way of life. We accept that the world we previously knew is not the real world. The real world is the world that is revealed to us in the Kingdom of God through Jesus death and resurrection. To walk the road Jesus walked is not an easy one, and may lead to our own deaths, but we do it gladly because we know that his path leads to life in this new reality we have accepted. Instead of death, we know we receive life even when being subjected to torture, pain, and persecution.
Our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not simply come to Jesus as we are and remain the same. Instead, once we experience the new reality Jesus reveals to us, we strive to live as citizens of God’s Kingdom. The Spirit, thus, works in us and transforms us into these citizens. We cannot do this on our own. We are too conditioned to living like the old way of the world we used to know. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to convict and transform us into sons and daughters of God––our Father.
The good news of Christ’s birth is more than that he came to earth. It is more than we get presents during Christmas time each year. The good news of Jesus’ birth is that he grew up and showed us the way of God. He died the death we deserved and was raised from the dead to prove that he was in fact the messiah (not just some wise teacher or prophet).
Jesus’ death should have been the ultimate punishment and shame, and it would have been if he had not been vindicated by God. But now we know the good news. We can walk the path Jesus walked. We can live the life he lived through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can join him in his sufferings and his death, and one day, join him in the power of the resurrection. For what have we to fear if death is not longer a threat? Now that is good news!
Join the Conversation: What else about Jesus birth, death, and resurrection is good news? How has accepting Jesus’s lordship transformed your life? What is the Spirit doing to transform you currently? We want to walk with you!