The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; (Mal. 3:1) the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” (Isaiah 40:3) (NRSV)
When you received an email, what do you check first? I check the subject and the sender. If the sender is not identified or suspicious, then I usually delete it because it may contain a so-called virus.
What do you do when you get a post- stamped mail? I check the sender first, then throw away if it is a junk mail, right?
About 2000 years ago, God sent an amazing message to the world. The delivery man was John the Baptist.
Who was the sender? Of course, it was God. The message was about Jesus Christ. The message was written in the Bible. This is the most precious mail. We are so thankful for God’s mercy.
The messenger, John the Baptist was a holy man. People believed him a man of God. He lived in the wilderness, just like Isaiah and proclaimed to the people that they must repent. When the people heard him, they repented. Then, he baptized the people. People believed that he was a prophet because he was not an ordinary man and was not like other Jewish leaders.
John, the messenger, prepared the way of the ministry of Jesus by baptizing Jesus. Just like the delivery man delivered the message. When Jesus was baptized, suddenly, the heaven was opened. The Spirit of God descended on Jesus and the voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.” This is the beginning of the Good News.
That is the tidings, the Good News, we got on the Christmas Sunday. We know the Good News is Jesus Christ.
- Let’s see what the Good News means
The Good News is the English translation of ‘Gospel’, which was from the word, ‘godspel’. ‘God’ means ‘Good’, ‘spel’ means ‘News’. So, God-spel became Gospel. The Gospel was originated from the Greek, ‘Ευαγγέλιοv – Euangelion’. The word is the combination of ‘good’ and ‘God’s messenger’ (‘Eu’ + ‘Angelos’). That makes ‘A God’s messenger of good news’.
John the Baptist was the God’s messenger. The Gospel Mark starts out with this phrase. ‘The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God’. That’s why Jesus Christ is the Gospel.
- How does the Good News relate to the world?
Now, how does the Gospel, the Good News, relate to the world?
As Jesus prepared and started His ministry, the entire country heard about him and was stirred and welcomed him because He healed the sick people and performed many miracles. The news about His ministry was spread through the area. Many people were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. Many parts of the OT described about Him.
However, the most of the Jewish leaders were confused because He ate and get along with sinners, and healed the sick people on the Sabbath day. According to the Moses’ law, the righteous man cannot defile himself by getting along with sinners. That’s why they could not accept Jesus as the Messiah.
On top of that, when the Jewish leaders heard what Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven,” they were furious because they knew it was only possible by God. That is because they did not know Jesus was the Son of God.
In John chapter 4, we can read a story about a Samaritan woman. The woman lived in sin and tried to avoid people because they pointed out to her and condemned her sinful life.
That’s why she picked the time to the well when no one comes. When Jesus approached her, she tried to avoid Jesus. However, Jesus deliberately approached and talked to her. When she heard about the living water, she opened her heart because she lived in thirst.
She said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” (John 4:25-26)
As she heard what Jesus said, “I, the one speaking to you is the Messiah,” her heart became full of joy and peace. His words made her free from her guilty life. She said to herself, “Wow!!! I met the Messiah!!! Who talked to a sinner like me!!! And made me free from the guilt!! I am free!!!”
Immediately, she was no longer under the guilt and condemnation. She was not afraid of the people anymore. Instead, she went out to the street and shouted to the people, “Come and See! I met Messiah!!”
- How does the good news related to me?
Let’s think about her life for a moment. She lived with a shame and guilt. People in her town and the society condemned her. I am sure she did not plan to marry 5 times, but, somehow she was ending up like that. Without Jesus, she probably lived such an afflicted life with guilt for the rest of her life.
When the good news, Jesus, arrived at her, she could refuse Jesus. But, with God’s grace, she opened and accepted Jesus as the Messiah.She was completely transformed.
Any of us here are suffering from anything?
Let’s come to Christ. Let’s open our heart and believe in Him as the Savior and the Messiah, just like the Samaritan woman. Let’s accept the good news and be saved from the eternal condemnation.
Jesus has come to give us the abundant life. That is not limited to the salvation. Just like the woman, when we accept the Gospel, God will take away the suffering right away, or change our attitude toward the situation so that we can overcome the trouble. Praise the Lord!
We know the beginning of the good news started with the birth of the Messiah. If so, was it ended by His death? No, the good news has been continued and still works for us now, and until He comes back.
Now, how would you reply the email to the sender, God?
If you haven’t believed in Jesus as your Messiah, you should reply that you would accept Jesus as your Messiah. That makes our Lord, God really glad.
If you are a believer, then you would thank for his grace. Especially those who are in any pain, suffering, and burdened, then ask Him to strengthen you to overcome so that you can have the joy and peace through the same freedom that the Samaritan woman experienced.
Or, you may reject and trash His good news…