What Is The Good News?
A Sunday school teacher who was teaching a lesson about being prepared and working diligently. She wanted to use squirrels as an example of prepared workers. She started the lesson by saying, “I’m going to describe something, and I want you to raise your hand when you know what it is.” The children were excited to show her what they knew and leaned forward eagerly.
“I’m thinking of something that lives in trees (pause) and eats nuts (pause)…” No hands went up. “It can be gray or brown (pause) and it has a long bushy tail (pause)…” The children looked around the room at each other, but still no one raised a hand. “It chatters (pause) and sometimes it flips its tail when it’s excited (pause)…”
Finally one little boy shyly raised his hand. The teacher breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Okay, Michael. What do you think it is?”
“Well,” said the boy, “it sure sounds like a squirrel, but I guess the answer’s supposed to be Jesus.”
This time of year we hear songs, sermons, and Sunday school productions which proclaim the tidings of good news, but what is this good news,,, ? I know you probably think I’ve lost my mind ~ of course it’s Jesus!
The answer comes easily and we can so quickly miss the context of the story; and it’s no wonder with our warm traditions, hot apple cider, Christmas baking, the aroma of scented candles it’s easy to miss the chaos of the real story.
The Jews were oppressed by the Romans and they were desperate for a political and national savior. We can translate the good news into a spiritual salvation message, but they had other things on their minds.
This good news proclaimed by the angels became a man, and in Him we see good news in action.
So here’s the point I’m driving at. Jesus was obviously Good News to those who knew what they really needed ~ the hungry ate, the deaf heard, the blind saw, the dead lived… the ones who misinterpreted the need were sorely disappointed. I find it’s so easy to misinterpret my own need and even the needs of others sometimes.
Our new nature means we are the good news the world is in need of. The challenge for me and I believe for others is to take the time to listen to the real needs of others. The Essence of good news remains true “Jesus” yet the application changes depending on the need. Here’s what I mean ~ To feed the hungry is a true need, but to teach the hungry to budget, eat healthy and sustain themselves financially ~ now we’re talking real transformation where the needy don’t become codependent.
Healing the lame or the blind was an act of kindness and grace by Jesus, and we seldom think of how this changed the life of the person. They no longer had to beg for a living, they now had a whole new life ahead of them.
We here at East Gate continue to develop a transformation network that has potential to bring a holistic meaning to what the Good News is and what it can accomplish in transformation.
I want to personally wish you the fullness of good news and great joy this season!
Warmly, Chris Wiens