Good News for the Bad News

Do you watch the news? If so, question: How do you usually feel afterwards?

Exhilarated? Peaceful? Chock-full of unbridled hope and restored faith in humanity?

Probably not, right?

If you’re like me, you probably just turn off your TV, lock the doors, google “cancer-preventing foods”, and vow to never watch the news again.

If you don’t watch the news, why is that? Probably because, like my wife, you “hate the news. It’s so depressing.” And it is. Sure, there are bright spots, but they are quickly eclipsed by one crisis or another.

Last night, in our student service, Transit, we did a mock newscast before the message, complete with sad stories and sensationalized journalism.

Tommy Tommerson (Tommy Pride) presented the following news:

Three young men were gunned down on the city’s east side. The killer is still at large. Hide your kids.

This season, Michigan is on the list of states with the highest influenza outbreaks. Avoid human beings.

The forecast shows at least two feet of snow over the next 48 hours. Power outages expected.

I then handed out tissues and told the students how hard it was going to be for them to ever find a job in our economy. Not really. I used the stories to contrast the bad news we are so accustomed to with the hope presented in The Gospel.

gospel – from the Old English word gōd-spell, meaning “good news”

The Good News. This is the message of Christ, best summarized by the first, and possibly only Bible verse you learned as a child:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)

I believe this to be the truest and best news ever presented to mankind, that there is hope in the shadow of the cross, that the worst news ever—Jesus died—was soon eclipsed by the greatest news—He rose again, bringing new life to all who believe.

But the Gospel is more than good news for sinners in need of a Savior. The Gospel is good news for all the bad news.

For example:

Three young men killed – Murder is the overflow of a hateful heart gripped by sin. God’s only Son suffered the murderous cross to rescue us from the destructive effects of sin. Jesus absorbed the full brunt of human hatred in order to release us of its power.

Flu Season – The Scriptures teach that sickness is ultimately a result of the fall of man. Adam and Eve’s disobedience put a crack in the goodness of God’s creation, and the effects are felt in every aspect of life. However, the Gospel not only presents Christ’s power to heal, but a future without sickness or pain.

Bad Weather – Earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and storms. Crazy as it sounds, the Gospel even has good news for Planet Earth.

“Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” (Romans 8:20-21 NLT)

The obvious push back to all of this is that the ultimate fulfillment of the so-called “good” news remains to be seen. Christians have been saying, “One day,” for two thousand years. What about the here-and-now?

Though pain and injustice and evil still exist, there is simply no denying the impact of Jesus on history. Some of the world’s greatest humanitarian efforts are rooted in the scriptures. Men and women like William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Theresa pulled their inspiration straight from the words of Jesus.

A fringe belief system that was supposed to die off in the First Century is still very much alive, restoring broken marriages and families, rescuing the poor and oppressed, and turning prisoners into free men, even behind bars.

People are still looking for the Good News.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Photo Credit: kygp (Creative Commons)

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