Mark 1:15 gives us the shortest – checklist or bulleted point version – of the Gospel, the Good News, that Jesus preached.
Good News is big news – news that changes everything. It was modeled after how the Romans announced a new Emperor. Messengers were sent out, proclaiming how there was a new ruler. Who would protect the empire, and the peace – the Pax Romana. All were to bow down to the new ruler and worship. So much was this modeled after what the Roman Empire did, I am surprised that Jesus wasn’t killed for announcing this way – and killed far earlier. But God had other plans.
Jesus uses the term Good News in Luke 4 where he gives the longest version of the gospel in the Synoptic, the first three Gospels. He is quoting from Isaiah 61. Israel was very familiar with Isaiah.
So the term “Good News” had multiple meanings to the people of the times in the Roman Empire, including in Jerusalem. It was a strong term.
Let’s take a look at the short version of the Gospel so we don’t overload ourselves at first look.
There are a couple of things about the context that are best understood. You may remember that scripture tells us that Jesus was called to preach to the Hebrews, to Israel, first. The Hebrews were well versed in Torah, the teachings of the first five books of our bible.
They knew well of, and understood much about the Fall of Man and the curses of this broken world that we have inherited. This was written about in Genesis 3:15, and the Hebrews knew this scripture well.
That’s what I like to call the Bad News: we live in a broken world full of curses and problems, such as sickness, death, taxes, relationship difficulties, financial problems, bad politics, imperfect and even evil rulers…the list goes on and on. All of us are affected by at least some of these: the Bad News is personal to us all.
So Good News that changes everything is greatly needed.
Jesus told us that Now is the time. The time of his coming and of his Kingship (he is the King of the Kingdom of God) – his Kingship had been coming for a long time. And when the human mind hears the word “Now” spoken, without realizing it, we tend to think of now. We momentarily experience ourselves in the present. A side effect of this is that we are more present, and we are more whole minded. Decisions have an even wider impact, helping them to be more solid and long lasting unlike too many New Years resolutions.
Remember, this is being spoken by the King who is present. The Anointed One, who has Holy Spirit on him since his baptism in water, Holy Spirit for a purpose – which is an important part of the human experience of the Anointing. (Luke 4 and Isaiah 61 tells us what the Anointing is for. The Hebrews knew this well, and were looking forward to the coming of the Anointed: the Messiach (transliterated from the Hebrew) or the Christ (transliterated from the Greek).
When an important truth is spoken, human intuition perceives it, if nothing is getting in the way. Holy Spirit is whispering it to our spirit, and we know; and we know that we know….
So Now is the time. The Time has come. (Kairos moment – anyone?)
Now the big announcement. Here it is, folks. And this is huge. Why, because we live in a broken world full of curses where the adversary rules – that’s a whole other message – but see Genesis.
Now here’s the thing, folks.
When we experience the Presence of God as near us, with us or in us – we experience ourselves as more confident, whole, resourceful and even joyful.
When we experience the Presence of God as far away or absent, we become depressed and tend to become hopeless. We may feel fragmented, we certainly do not experience ourselves as feeling whole.
Want to see these differences dramatized? Read Psalms!
The difference is not subtle. It’s very important.
When we experience the truth and Presence of God as in us, near us or in us – we experience not only more wholeness, but more whole-mindedness. This means that when we make decisions while being this way, the decisions are deeper and more long lasting. Less fickle than so many well intended New Years resolutions.
So the message of Jesus continues. Now is the time (finally). (The King is speaking. Clearly implied but not said.) The Kingdom of God is at hand – literally, within reach.
Which means – those areas where the hearer is experiencing the curses or brokenness of this world – such as sickness, financial or relationship difficulties, and so forth — which are under the rulership of the adversary — are all within reach of help. The rule of God as in Eden (Paradise, Garden of) – can be restored to that area of your life. Sickness can be healed. Bondage to unclean things (including any spirit of uncleanliness) – freedom can be obtained – “the prisoners freed”. And so forth.
This is good news. Wonderful news! Literally, Good News that changes everything.
In the future, we’ll explore how this is applied to practical ministry to heal peoples sicknesses and problems. How to literally restore to humans every good thing originally given to us by God.
So watch for future articles.