Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What is the Good News Jesus came to tell us?

Jesus came to bring us the good news of salvation. But what does salvation mean? Throughout the New Testament, the words "save," "saved," and "salvation" have their root in the Greek "sozo" which means to save, to rescue, to deliver, to protect. "Sozo" is also translated in the New Testament with the words heal, preserve, save, do well, and to make whole. The Greek "soteria" (which has it’s origin in “sozo”) is the main word translated "salvation." "Soteria" is also translated to deliver, health, salvation, save and saving.
One can learn the full meaning of a Greek word by studying the scriptures where it is used and the way it is interpreted. You can easily see from the previous definitions that "salvation" means much more than a soul’s preparation for Heaven.
In Romans 1:16-17, the Apostle Paul writes, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God for salvation ("soteria") to everyone that believes… For there is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith."
Jesus came to bring us salvation, which means He came to rescue, deliver, protect, heal, and save us. He came to make us whole and to reconnect us with the God who loves us. He came so save us from our sin, our despair, our loneliness, our fear and our lack of faith (Mark 4:35-41).
After living in Nazareth for thirty years (Luke 3:23), Jesus began to deliver His message, which was called the Good News (Matthew 4:23). What was the Good News? In the time of Jesus, the people were burdened with laws that regulated the smallest layers of daily life. Besides the oppressive laws of their Roman conquerors, there was the body of Jewish law. There were not just Ten Commandments; there were 613 commandments and 365 prohibitions. When they could not measure up to the laws, the religious leaders cut them off from the society of decent people.
Jesus told people He had come to fulfill that prophecy, to bring them the Good News for which they had waited for so long (Luke 4:20-21). Part of the Good News brought to us by Jesus was that being fully human in the true sense of the word was true holiness. All the commandments and prohibitions did not make one holy. Being what God created us to be, just ourselves, good human beings was what made one holy (Mark 4:35-41). There is a profound revelation in that, and an important part of the Good News, that you could be ordinary, doing the ordinary, everyday things that people do, and underneath that simple, ordinary persona, possess extraordinary holiness.
How Jesus lived His own life as a human shows how we are to live ours (John 16:25-28). In His own life, Jesus lived simply. He was deeply in love with everything and everyone living, from God down to the simplest creature. He was gentle and compassionate, especially to those who were ostracized by society (Mark 2:17). He never gave an appearance of self-righteousness, but had a genuine humility and meekness and an understanding of others.
Jesus loves all of us as we are and reaches us where we are. That is the beauty of the Good News. We are OK to be where we are. We can be ourselves. We do not have to become like anyone else to be loved by Jesus.

Peace and Love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

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