“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God . . . because that is why I was sent.”
Here’s the good news as I heard it on my way to becoming a Christian: We’re all guilty sinners who deserve to be punished by God. But Jesus suffered the punishment for us when he died on the cross. So if we admit our sin and trust Jesus to deal with it, God forgives us and we are saved. That really was good news, and I was glad to embrace it.
Here’s the good news as Jesus himself announced it on his way through Galilee: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). Wait a minute. The good news Jesus announced doesn’t sound like the good news I heard. How can that be? It turns out that the good news I heard is just a piece of the good news Jesus announced. We get a glimpse of that in our reading today from Acts 16. An overwhelmed jailer can’t make sense of all the commotion in his jail. So Paul gives him some good news, saying, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” But he doesn’t stop there. Because there’s more to the good news. So Paul goes on to teach the jailer and his family about Jesus and, for sure, about the kingdom of God. Because believing in Jesus is incomplete unless we believe what Jesus himself proclaimed.
Jesus, help us to listen to what you say and to watch what you do. How else can we follow you into the kingdom? Amen.
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