We are called to tell good news, not bad news, as Jesus our Lord directs us. He may direct us by his leadings from the Holy Spirit. And for his direction, we read the gospels, copy Jesus and understand what he wants. This is to proclaim the good news as he did (Luke 4:18 “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me ….”) and as he sent his disciples, ”to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons, proclaiming “the Kingdom of Heaven is upon you”(Mt 10:7). This kingdom is not of this world!
Jesus did not proclaim the law or judgment to the common folk but good news, to follow Jesus. To follow him is totally sufficient. It means a radical turning away from one way to another – his way.
This is to follow his example including the way he taught the good news. Often what people hear from us followers is bad news, all the things they must give up. How many of those are there? Myriads. Countless. So we become more known for being against the “freedom” which people want, than for the true freedom that the Jesus has come to give. “You (Joseph) shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins”. It is knowing him that that saves us from the slavery of sin. His people are saved daily and forever from the degradation, the horrible mess of society that has been and continues to be shaped by people in the hands of a malignant enemy. As Peter Hitchings said recently on ABC’s Q&A program, our world is fast becoming an unfit place to live in. But Jesus is Lord! He calls us follow him unto a whole new world, of new heavens and a new earth!
People must hear the good news, come to know Jesus and the dynamic gift of the Holy Spirit. It is critical that they hear the good news of Jesus’ life and grace and experience him and his kingdom. When we experience Jesus we become aware of God’s ways written on our hearts. Then will unfold the loving of Jesus in obedience, growth, transformation, the fruit of the Spirit. Then comes true freedom, solid hope.
To speak of Jesus is sufficient. To invite people to follow him is sufficient.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17
Some think that that before sharing the good news you have to preach law in order to make people feel their need of a Saviour. That’s not the New Covenant. When people meet Jesus they are given a heart of flesh – the stony heart is taken away.
To follow Jesus was sufficient for Matthew and Zaccheus to leave behind lucrative tax collecting. It was sufficient good news for the disciples to follow him and as they walked with him they discovered more of what it meant to be in the Kingdom of God just by being with him and hearing him. They learned as they walked with him.
Jesus said it is the Holy Spirit’s work to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Not us. We must trust that the Holy Spirit is going before us and stay in touch with him as we bear witness. The first disciples were told when the Holy Spirit has come they would be “witnesses unto me” – to the abundance of life in Jesus, not to law (Acts 1:8), not to religion. Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth!
We are to call people to repent. This means to turn, to change one’s mind, one’s world view. But it is turning to Jesus as Lord! It is not merely turning from something or from many things, but to someone. To Jesus. To follow him. Merely turning away from your lifestyle, to reform, to do better, to turn over a new leaf, or to religion, to dogma, will lead to despair and a worse situation.
Turning to Jesus, knowing him — is such good news. We must communicate that.