In the Bible, God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ is called the gospel, literally “good
news.” We read and hear lots of news every day. I find it interesting to think about the way we
get our news today and how it differs from the past. In ancient times, news had to be literally
carried about from place to place. Think of Isaiah 52: “how lovely on the mountains are the feet
of those who bring good news!”
When I was a kid, news was read in the morning from the
newspaper, and then watched in the evening at six or ten o’clock on tv. Aside from something
urgent, that was it. How different it is today! I have two apps just for news on my phone, not to
mention the local news I get through Facebook. And I find an almost irresistible urge to be
checking these things constantly throughout the day. There really isn’t any greater quantity of
newsworthy stuff happening now than there was 30 or 3000 years ago, but we are now
burdened with the need to know it all the instant it happens.
Although there is an urge to know the latest news, what is lamer than old news? Imagine
opening up your New York Times app and seeing the same headline at the top that you saw
there yesterday. That’s old news! It’s annoying to me not to see something new and fresh every
time I look for news, even if the last time I looked was ten minutes ago. Something that
happened yesterday, that everyone has heard, is no longer news, it’s history.
The gospel is news, too, but it’s not like that. What God did through Jesus Christ is history, but
it is also always referred to in the Bible as news. When Jesus began his ministry he said “the
kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15). Even after Jesus’
ascension his disciples continued to spread the message about him: “day after day in the
temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good
news that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 5:42). What’s more, in Revelation 14 an angel is tasked
with declaring a message to “every nation, tribe, language and people.” This message is called
“the eternal gospel” or the eternal good news.
If yesterday’s headlines are no longer news, how can something be eternally good news? It is
because the message of the gospel always has the life-giving power to change us. As Paul says
in Romans 1:16 the good news is the “power of God for salvation.” It is unlike any other bit of
news. Imagine going to your library and reading a headline about how the Franco-Prussian war
ended in 1871, then walking out shaking your head and saying, “I am a changed person!” This
news may have been the most important thing in the world at the time, but it doesn’t affect any
of us today! But the good news of Jesus Christ can change us as often as we hear it.
An old hymn puts it like this: “I love to tell the story, ‘tis pleasant to repeat, what seems each
time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet . . . I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem
hungering and thirsting, to hear it like the rest.”
That’s the power of the living, acting Word of God. Read the gospel again today for yourself.
But don’t keep it to yourself. Good news deserves to be shared