July 03, 2014

The Gospel Story: Good News!

Mark 1:14-20

The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!
—Mark 1:15


The word we translate as “gospel” means “good news.” Good news is exciting; it normally triggers joyful responses like cheers and “high fives.” Picture soccer fans reacting to a surprise goal in the final minute of the game. Picture a cancer patient being declared cancer free. That’s good news!

But we don’t always have good news in mind when we read the Bible. Often we read the Bible more like good advice than good news. Or it may seem more like a stern warning or an important restriction.

When our reading of Scripture sounds like anything other than good news, it’s usually a sign that we’re not reading very carefully. The Bible tells us what God has done to fix a problem that we could never fix on our own. While the Bible describes what we should do in response to what God has done, the main point of the story isn’t what we need to do, but rather what God has already done. The burden of pleasing God has been taken off our shoulders and transferred to Christ’s. That’s good news for anyone who has ever felt burdened!

There are really only two ways to respond to the Bible. One is to say, “I’ll try harder.” That’s how people often respond to good advice. The other is to say, “Thank you.” That’s how people often respond to good news.

When you open the Bible, what do you find: good advice or good news?

Lord, thank you for the best news we could possibly hear—salvation in Christ Jesus! In your name, Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!