Monday, May 11, 2009

How many kinds of good news count as 'gospel'?

Here I want to take a close look at how many kinds of good news are presented in the gospel in the New Testament. When we talk about the good news, we often focus on Jesus' death and resurrection -- and for good reason. This pair of events, more than any other events, shatter our hopelessness and constitute good news. Still, there are other events that fill out the picture in the gospels.

  • When Jesus calms the storm, it is good news. And we know the kingdom of God will not be a place where natural disasters threaten us.
  • When Jesus heals the sick, it is good news. The kingdom of God is not a place where illness robs us of our strength or our lives.
  • When Jesus heals the crippled and paralyzed it is good news, again a promise of what the kingdom of God is like.
  • When Jesus feeds the hungry and gives drink to the thirsty it is good news; the kingdom of God is a place of plenty.
  • When Jesus forgives sins it is good news; the kingdom of God is a place of forgiveness and relief, where God has created clean hearts.
  • Even the visit to the Samaritan woman at the well is good news. The kingdom of God is not a place where shameful secrets in the past separate us from friendships with our neighbors.
  • When Jesus turns water into wine, it is good news. He blesses the wedding feast as a foretaste of the feast to come.
The New Testament records many different events from the life of Jesus, many more than just these. How many kinds of good news count as "gospel"? All of them.

In the next post I will consider how we know that Jesus' death and resurrection are central to his mission and to how we should think of Christ. But for the moment, I'd like to ponder the wideness of the reach of God's goodness, and how many things are encompassed in the gospel.


Howard said...

Very nicely done. It really is wonderful do begin to unwrap the light of the Gospel this way.

Martin LaBar said...

Good stuff. But wasn't it good news when He brought someone back to life? (Or maybe you are going to cover that soon.)

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi there

Howard - thanks for the encouragement. I think I wrote this post largely out of frustration with the wooden "gospel presentations" I have heard. There's something about them that drives me a little nutso ...

Martin - Definitely. :) I was just trying not to be tedious so I passed on the full catalog approach. Not easy to pass on that approach, given my temperament and training. :)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF