The Good News
It used to be that most product advertisement was for the products you could purchase at the local store. But, marketing has taken a shift. Now we have advertisement for public announcement. You also have advertisement to enhance public image. Then there is the kind of advertisement for products that you cannot buy at the counter of the local store. Many of these are advertisement for drugs of relatively unknown conditions. The principle behind these commercials is the same: trying to sell you on the benefits of the drug, which is beyond just the physical condition.
Most of these commercials start by showing a person telling you that they had a problem: a symptom that got in the way of carrying normal daily routines and maintaining healthy relationships. That symptom was found to be an expression of this certain health condition. And, now there is drug to help with that condition, so the symptom can disappear, or become manageable, and you can go on living as if the problem was non existent. However, you cannot just go your local pharmacy and buy the drug; you have to ask your doctor about it. For most of us this advertisement is a waste of air time. That is, unless we have the condition featured in the ad. All of a sudden facts or information becomes good news. Good news implies that something is wrong (there is a problem) and there is something to make it right (a solution).
Most of us that drive complain about the cost of gas. In this case my problem is that gasoline (petrol) is too expensive. So, hybrid electric cars – which use less gasoline - as an option sound nice. But, that is not good news. Good news is to find out that the local gas station is selling gas at $2 a gallon when the running price is $3.50 a gallon. The latter addresses my need. That is a solution.
We know that the word gospel means good news. It is a translation of the Latin word evangel form which we have to word evangelism. We typically say, rightfully so, that the Gospel is the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To say that would imply that there is something wrong and Christ’s life makes it right. So, what is wrong? We will typically here the perfunctory answer: Sin. But, what does this mean? The answers to that are also perfunctory and impersonal.
We tend to focus more on the Good news part, but often neglect the sad and painful reality that makes Christ’s life, death and resurrection good news. In the Bible we see two different groups who saw good news in Christ, but misunderstood His real mission, thus ignoring the wrong He came to make right. The first group is one He talked about in the sermon of the mount in Matthew 7: 21 - 23. Let us read,
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Notice that this group did work and in the name of the Lord, but this group was not doing the will of the Father. This implies that all they did was not of faith (Romans 14: 23); which means that they were not truly hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). They built their house on sand (Matthew 7: 26 – 27).
The other group is in John 6. We see here that “a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which He did on them that were diseased” (John 6:2). After a while Jesus performs a miracle to feed this great multitude. After being filled by this food they reasoned, “…This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. [So] When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone (John 6:14 – 15). In their hearts they saw Christ as the man with power to heal and feed; so it seemed they asked themselves, “Imagine if he could use His power to destroy the Roman army.” The next day they searched for Jesus and “And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled” (John 6:25 - 6:26).
This group also misses the point. They wanted Jesus to use His power to give them what they desired. But, just as the first group, they acted outside of faith. So, when they realized that they could not get Him as their “Santa Clause,” they said they’d be willing to work for it. When Jesus explained what the work entailed, they left disappointed. It was more than they were willing to give.
There is a third group. This group has understood Christ’s mission. These are they that “doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7: 21)”. About these, Jesus added,
Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
They are the ones of which followed Jesus’ words from John 6:27, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” The non-Jews in Thessalonica that believed Paul's teachings were part of this group. Which group do you belong to?