The spiritual condition of Judas is an age-old debate and not the one I mean to engage in today. I want to add a new wrinkle to the discussion; did Judas preach the Gospel? When the Apostles were sent out with the power to heal the sick and cast out demons (Matthew 10, Luke 9) did Judas do those things as well?
John the Baptist sent his own disciples to Jesus, asking if he was the one promised or should they wait for another. Jesus responded “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” (Luke 7:22) Have you heard the Good News? And if so, who told you? Continue reading →
In Mark 1 (also Matthew 4) Jesus began his public ministry. Before healing the sick or calling disciples, Jesus preached his first sermon:
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15, ESV)
Jesus preached the gospel. Gospel is one of those words we borrowed from Greek when translating the scriptures. It means good news. You can easily recognize Christians that share the gospel by one simple test: is what they are sharing good news? At the first opportunity, Jesus preached the Gospel. He did not preach a four part message series on having a happy marriage or managing a successful business. The Bible has a lot to say about marriage, business, raising children and so forth. But those things are not of the most importance. Where Jesus spent the balance of his time and energy was on spreading the gospel. Continue reading →
John Lennon’s Imagine is a beautiful song. It has more than a meaningless catchy hook; the music, the molody, the lyrics are beautifully composed. It’s one of those songs that has stood the test of time and continues to move audiences today. (Here’s a link if you must.)
I mentioned it is not meaningless, right? The song is beautiful to listen to but it’s the substance that should offend Christian sensibilities. If an angry atheist were shouting on the street corner that there is no God, we would certainly notice. Perhaps argue with him. But Imagine shares the same message – that without religion the world would be a better place – in a much more palatable form. I enjoy hearing the song even though I disagree with it’s philosophy. Many have probably heard it without listening to it. “Imagine there’s no heaven.” I’d rather not.
I submit for your approval Reimagine.
Blogger Flagrant Regard (his first name is Martin, but that’s all I know) has taken what we like about Imagine but asks the listener to do the opposite. Realize there is a heaven to gain, a hell to shun, and that Calvary makes all the difference. Hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and realize that he is not the problem but the solution. The Gospel is Good News; it is the cure and not the disease.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the Gospels in that they tell the story of the life of Jesus. Jesus preaches in Mark 1 “repent and believe in the gospel.” More than those four books, gospel means good news. Jesus died for our sins; he is the way, the truth and the life; he brings the New Covenant, and we are no longer under the Law; all things things are part of the gospel message. Paul says the Law is bad news; it cannot make us righteous, only more guilty. But there is more to the Old Testament than the Law, and it’s not all bad news.
The Bible has many stories and characters, but only one message. (Have you read this?) The Old Covenant was about keeping the Law and bearing the mark of circumcision. Paul has many analogies about the difference between the Law and the Gospel; the Gospel brings life, the Law only brings death. But my point is that there is plenty of good news in the Old Testament as well. It is part of God’s message. Continue reading →
There are 360 degrees in a complete circle. Relating your conclusion to the introduction when making a speech is a good way to tie everything up neatly. If you finish your career the way you started, or move back home after relocating many times, we say you have come “full circle.” Jesus begins and ends his ministry on earth the same way – sharing the Gospel. Continue reading →