I’ve got some good news for you! Excited? Maybe that doesn’t quite get your hopeful juices flowing. Maybe statements like these roll off your back because you’ve have been bombarded with “You may have already won ” emails/letters, and “Win a free Xbox 360!!” web-site banners. Maybe you’ve heard statements like these so much that they have lost all sense of meaning and excitement. Much like a lot of the language we use to describe the wonder of the Gospel. Words like personal relationship with Jesus, born-again, and even Christianity have taken on so much baggage you can hardly find the real meaning anymore. That or we’ve used the words on such a surface level so long that we use them without even knowing what they mean. Our language is in need of Ty PENnington and an Extreme Word Makeover. I apologize for the detour through Sesame Street.
I’ve got some good news for you! Did that do anything different for you this time? Dang. Let’s try something else. Imagine your best friend telling you he or she has good news for you. I imagine hearing that from my wife and I can almost feel the excitement as I write this. Do you feel a burst of excitement at the words “good news?” Do you feel that same burst of excitement when someone mentions the Gospel, church, or the mission of Jesus? I don’t think most people do. Honestly that makes me sad. Sad because something that should be as basic as what Jesus came to accomplish has taken on all sorts of baggage that we often can’t see through the murky waters to discern the right and true purpose of the event that time itself is defined by.
When Jesus spoke of his mission he chose to refer to it as the “gospel.” The Greek word used in the New Testament for “gospel” is literally translated as “good news.” So the people of Israel heard Jesus often say something akin to, “I have some good news for you!” I think if someone of Jesus’s ilk told me he had good news for me I would be pretty stoked. But for some reason when the church talks about the good news today the world doesn’t hear that and that makes me sad.
It’s sad to me that over time we have done so much damage to the message of Jesus that in general the world hears a message of bigotry and hypocrisy. It’s sad to me that the world hears the message of Jesus as a list of rules and “thou shall nots.” It’s sad to me that the world hears the message of Jesus as something it is not.
What do you hear when you think of the message of Jesus? Is it good news for you? Seriously. Don’t just answer the “right” answer and move on. Engage your heart in the question. When you think of the message of Jesus what does your heart hear? Freedom or shackles? Love or anger? Inclusiveness or exclusiveness? Authenticity or hypocrisy?
Honestly I think we have gotten the message of Jesus so mixed and mucked up that many in the church don’t even know what it is anymore.