Turn and attend this good news…

So, there’s this thing that Jesus does…

 

Following in his cousin’s footsteps,

Jesus steps into the prophetic void

created by John’s arrest,

and calls attention to God’s victory.

 

This is not how you are used to hearing it – but here it is;

repent, and believe in the evan-ge-lion

we typically read “good news”, aka gospel –

but I have been asked to consider in the course of this week’s preparation

another way to translate (and therefore, understand) this Greek term.

 

Proclamation, says this translator[1], as in “Victory announcement;

of the sort that follows triumph over an oppressor, or the overthrow of a despot.

 

Now, let’s remember that this is (according to Mark), the BEGINNING of the good news – the proclamation – of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.   So says CH 1 v 1.

And that proclamation this declaration of good news,

gives us little indication of what that news is…or why it might be considered good;

so what is this evan-ge-lion ?

 

When we call attention to the “good news” (the gospel), what are we talking about?

Crucifixion – resurrection – salvation – grace – stuff like that, yes?

We make the gospel about Jesus, and only Jesus –

and that is a seriously short-sighted approach.

The good news is (believe it or not) so much more, according to Jesus.

 

 

The gospel – the proclamation that Jesus offers –

both at the beginning of his prophetic vocation,

and throughout his teaching/preaching career –

is about nothing less than the redemption of creation.

 

Jesus proclaims, from the beginning, the far-reaching, overwhelming,

absolutely grace-full work of God’s reclamation of all that God set in motion.

Our other lessons this morning suggest that this has been God’s work from the beginning of God’s interaction with humanity.

 

Good news suddenly seems like an understatement.

 

We are quite good at this –

understating / underestimating the extent of the evangelion of Jesus –

which IS good news for every inch of God’s creation.

 

We are content to reduce it to specific doctrines (important though they may seem).

It has become good news for us; an inside joke; a secret password to prosperity –

Gospel has become a commodity for the chosen; the faithful; the orthodox;

those willing to sign the pledge and take a seat –

but this has become our downfall.

 

Such thinking spawned an institutional church

that is now widely thought to be self-serving,

and ignorant of the need in its own neighbourhood.

 

This packaged, institutional interpretation of what ‘gospel’ could be

resigns us to ignorance of the bigger picture –

We are apt to loose sight of the vision of God that Jesus came to relate and the spirit helps us capture –

and that makes light of the good news;

that ignorance robs the gospel of its real power…

 

If you doubt this, consider that at this crucial season in the church calendar,

God’s people have, in many cases,

been reduced to a series of tension-filled meetings

which consider the future through accountant’s lenses.

 

We worry about numbers.  We count people, we assess assets, and we look to the past as a way to assure the future – but if we would be honest, our past is marked by problems of its own; our calculations are often flawed – our accounting leaves something to be desired.

 

Should I mention that we are urged by Jesus to live for today (for tomorrow has worries enough) even as we look to the future that is opened to us by our covenantal God.

 

So back to that thing that Jesus does…

Powerfully prophetic; full of hope (and brazenly challenging the status quo)

Jesus jumps into the public debate and announces God’s triumph – God’s concern that stretches beyond regular time (chronos) and evokes specific time (kairos).

 

Promises are ours – so goes Jesus’ proclamation (evangelion) – the kingdom is come.

A kingdom that acknowledges one power – one hope – and one passion.

It is a passion for peace; for fellowship; for justice; for truth

and none of these things can be measured, counted, possessed or purveyed.

 

 

 

 

Good news?

Only if we are more inclined to trust in God’s promises than our resourcefulness…

 

Good news?

Only because the promise has carried God’s people through positions of vulnerability and uncertainty for generations – against all odds – against common wisdom and our natural inclinations.

 

Let us Repent of our short-sightedness and believe this good news as Easter approaches. Look for the comfort and compassion of God’s promised kingdom – revealed to us through Jesus (the) Christ.

May we celebrate God’s victory in those battles not yet fought;

and to God be glory, honour and praise, for all we might discover in faith. Amen.

 


[1] The Anchor Bible, vol. 27:  “Mark: a new translation with introduction and commentary by C. S. Mann,  Doubleday (New York) 1986.

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