After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of GodMark 1:14

How startling!  I usually think of Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf as being the good news.  But here is Jesus at the start of his preaching and healing ministry talking about the good news of the Father.  This would have been the gospel taught in the Old Testament.  So what was the message or good news that those living in OT times would have heard?

Starting in Genesis we learn something about this good news of God, that…

  • God is a personal God (unlike the pagan gods of surrounding Middle Eastern tribes back then or of today: i.e. Buddha, the myriad Hindu Gods, Mother Earth, the Force of StarWars, or any pantheistic conception) God talked to Abraham personally, dined with him and even laid out a strange covenant during a ceremony that bound God to follow through with His promises…or else!   (Genesis 15 – ………So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon”……..)

And further on we read that …

  • God is a loving God….Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.
  • God is not someone to be ignored – we have to make a decision about Him – – Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

We also find out that…

  • God has a plan for each person:  Psalm 139:16– Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

And what is our duty?…..

  • The Gospel of God tells us that we are to love Him….Deuteronomy 6:5 – “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your  God with all your heart and with all your soul.

If you are like me, you might think, that sounds like just stuff I gotta do!!! And I keep failing…….

  • But listen to the best part of the news.. Isaiah 42:7 (Jesus came) to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.  Jesus provides us with the power to receive and live according to God’s good news as he opens our eyes and releases us from being bound in the darkness of our sin.

Right before Jesus starts preaching the Good News of God, ordinary people cluster around John the Baptist.  They witness the baptism of Jesus and hear an audible voice of God announcing His relationship to this Jesus.  People actually witness a voice declaring Jesus to be the pleasing Son of God.  Then Jesus, commissioned by His Father, heads off to Galilee announcing this good news.  People soon learn that what they had not been able to do in their own strength because of their sinful nature; Jesus is going to enable them to do in His strength once they repent and totally give up trusting in themselves for anything.

In sum, the good news that should make us shout for joy and wear a perpetual big grin on our faces all the time is that

  1. There is a purpose for life
  2. There is a reason why life is messed up  (an explanation for evil & suffering)
  3. Our lives have been planned for this time and location and we have a mission
  4. We are meant to have a real relationship with the personal creator & sustainer of the universe
  5. God gives us strength through the Holy Spirit to do what He calls us to do
  6. Nothing bad  that we do can separate us from the forever- love of God once we are in Christ
  7. We will live forever in a place where there is fullness of joy and pleasures every more