It’s the word the Bible writers’ used to described the Christian message. It’s a Greek word, they spoke Greek. It means ‘Good news’.
Christianity is essentially news. It isn’t advice, it’s a report of something that happened and the implications of that news. Advice is saying ‘do this and you’ll be happier’ or ‘try this and you can be better.’ Advice is offered and rejected, advice can be taken or left, news is different. News is static, news reports, news isn’t concerned with your response.
Peter talking to the crowd on Pentecost declared boldly: ‘You handed him over to be crucified but on the third day God raised him to life.’ He describes an event, an occasion in history. He reports news.
Paul in 2 Timothy wrote: ‘Christ Jesus died for sinners of whom I’m the worst’. He reports on the event of Jesus’ death.
John tells the religious leaders in Acts ‘There is no other name under heaven given to men by which they must be saved’. He declares truth, doesn’t give advice.
Paul writes to a church in Colossae ‘Jesus defeated the powers of darkness and triumphed over them at the cross.’
NEWS, NEWS, NEWS… Our world is full of news. We have 24hr news channels, daily newspapers, news apps. on our phones and news bulletins on the radio.
Some pieces of news lasts for only a day (like the fact that George McCullen won first place in the school cake baking contest), some pieces lasts for a few weeks (like the suicide of a prominent politician), whilst some pieces of news dominates our papers for years (like the death of Princess Diana). News plays a big part in our lives and good news travels especially fast:
‘It’s a boy!’
‘She said yes!’
When my son arrived in the world I was excited to deliver the news to my family and friends. Since the news broke, my life has never been the same since. The news reported on an event, an event (his birth) that has set my life in a new direction. I have a new routine, a new priority and even a new name.
The Christian news that has been talked about the world over is this:
‘Jesus has beaten death, our sins have been forgiven, new life is on offer to all who want it.’
The event of Jesus’ resurrection is one of the most historically verifiable events of all time. The implications of that event are innumerable; life, the history of the world, the purpose of our lives have been set in an entirely new direction.
That’s the difference that news can make.
The next time you’re tempted to think that Christianity is basically about behaving well or living right or that the church exists to tell people what to do, stop and remember:
The gospel is news, not advice.