I received some good news last week. A month ago we got a letter in the mail that sat unopened on the counter for a few days because it looked like junk mail. Eventually, I opened the letter and realized there was two dollar bills in it. It was a survey about radio stations, and said that if I turned it back in they would send me $5. I figured, what’s it hurt, so I filled it out, sent it in, and forgot about it. A couple of days ago I got a letter in the mail thanking me for filling out the survey and containing a $5.00 bill. In total, I was given $7.00 for about five minutes of my time.
While that was good news, I received even better news last week. A friend’s son was born with a hole in his heart that needed to be repaired. The child was finally old enough for the procedure and went into surgery last week. God was gracious and the surgery was successful. That was good news.
It’s interesting how good news sometimes depends on the situation. There are different levels of good news. Finding money is good news, but successful surgery is even better. It raises the question, what is good news for the world today. What is good news to a student heading back to school who is anxious about entering a new grade and the responsibilities that will be involved in that new grade? What is good news to the person who works in retail, as retail stores are closing at an alarming rate, and they wonder, is my store next? What will I do if I lose my job? What is good news to the single mom, who’s trying to juggle work, children, taking care of the house, paying the bills, and having any type of time to herself? What is good news to the person diagnosed with cancer, who is trying to come to grips with a deadly disease, while looking at treatment methods and rate of success?
Would good news be that there is hope? Would good news be that in the midst of all that is going on, God is providing something new? Would good news be that history is about to change, and that the forces of good in the world really are overcoming the forces of evil? Would good news be that the Messiah has come, that salvation has come, and that even though circumstances may look differently, “Our God Reigns?”
In Romans 10, Paul says there is good news, salvation is open for all. Salvation is open for Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, young and old, male and female. And salvation is simple to obtain. It’s not up in the heavens beyond our reach as some lofty ideal. And it’s not down in the pits of the earth where it seems that we would have to die to try to obtain it. No, it is in our midst, on our tongues, and in our hearts. “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) It’s very simple, that’s good news. It’s good news in the midst of the anxiety, stress, and concerns of life. It’s good news that we can share easily with the world. Come find new life. Come receive hope. The message is open to all who believe. Just call on the name of the Lord and be saved.
Yet, while the message is simple, it is also challenging. Ultimately you must confess that Jesus is Lord, and that’s a loaded statement. Because Jesus won’t share the supreme spot with anyone else: not my job, my money, my family, my hobbies…nothing. If Jesus is Lord than Caesar is not. If Jesus is Lord than my career is not. If Jesus is Lord than my family is not. If Jesus is Lord than I am not. It’s challenging to live with Jesus as Lord, because it means I have to take self off the top spot and submit to the reign and rule of Jesus. This requires death. Not physical death, but the killing of self. And that death must happen everyday. Yet while it’s challenging, it’s still good news because life is better when God is in control and I’m not.
There are many different types of good news, but the best is that salvation has come and Jesus is Lord. Salvation is simple, simply confess Jesus is Lord. Salvation is challenging, strive to live with Jesus as Lord. Yet remember, the simple and the challenging are both good news.