Good News of Jesus
Jesus gives voice to the voiceless, face to the faceless, and identity to the marginalized and oppressed of this world.
The gospel is news—good news.
But what is the content of this particular good news?
First, what it is not: The gospel is not a religious institution, nor a religious system to be managed. It is not a program to be implemented, nor a series of pragmatic choices that one makes to achieve happiness and eternal bliss.
The gospel is not something that can be bought. Many who live and breathe American consumerism consciously or unconsciously come to believe that the gospel is for sale. It is not!
The gospel of good news is a person: Jesus of Nazareth, who walked on this earth to offer an alternative to a humanity devoid of real hope. This Jesus of Nazareth, who died on a cross in order to redeem humanity, announced himself as coming "to bring good news to the poor … to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free"(Luke 4:18, NRSV).
As such Jesus (the gospel) is the absolute interruption in the seeming continuity of the historical process. He is the "breaking in" that offers true life by giving voice to the voiceless, face to the faceless, and identity to the marginalized and oppressed of this world. He is the "scandal" that challenges every culture and every society throughout history. Ultimately Jesus of Nazareth, a person, is Emmanuel; God with us. He is a gift to be received, and that gift is the ultimate source of all hope.
Steven Voth is dean, executive officer, and professor of Hebrew Bible at Bethel Seminary, San Diego.
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