The Beauty of Good News

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52: 7a

 
A traveller’s foot would not normally be considered a thing of beauty. Even modern socks and shoes do not protect feet from grime or wear as we walk in a world as rough, hard, and dirty as it is fallen. When I used to do long distance backpacking, my feet would first blister and bleed, and then develop layered callouses in thick pads. Yuck. Ugly. But things can take on a beauty not directly related to the way they look. A pair of blue jeans long past mending that we have developed a relationship with. A chipped bowl that is your first choice when you are baking rather than the equally usable new bowl next to it. When I think of the places these feet have taken me, I am dazzled by their design and durability, and that makes them beautiful to me. To be beautiful to others, there has to be something more. There has to be a qualifying attribute. When we dedicate our selves to delivering the Good News we become beautiful. Our feet, our hands, our lips, even our back sides that allow us drive to someplace/someone, and then allow us to sit patiently and tell the Good News – all become beautiful because of what they are doing, not because of the way they look.
~Brian Vander Haak
Advertisements

Christ Comes to Us to Bring Us Good News

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
– Luke 4:18

“The truth hurts.” A trite and overused statement; yet difficult to deny. What physician or counselor would deny that a client’s best chance of recovery or restoration is connected to their ability to recognize their malady?

Jesus came with good news and bad news. The narrative of his ministry draws a strong distinction between those who say the truth in the bad news (“You are blind, you are sick, you need healing.”), and those who denied the bad news and found the successive part (“I will restore you, I will free you.”) of his message offensive.

Gospel means, “news that brings joy.” Jesus came to declare truth to us, the truth of why he had come: for our rescue and salvation, that we might be delivered from sin into fellowship with God.

The news that brings joy—this gospel—is a stumbling block. For what good is salvation if you do not need a savior? To know Christ, to know why he came, we have to accept the offense of the gospel, the ultimate delivery of good and bad news bundled together.

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” – Tim Keller

~Breanna Randall

Christ Comes to Us to Bring Us Great Joy

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
Luke 2:10

These shepherds certainly had good cause to be afraid! Think of the terror put on those who witnessed even the smallest part of God’s heavenly power and majesty.

But now we need not be afraid of the splendor of God’s holiness, his glory was now among us, soon to live inside us!
We need not to feel like an outsider because we are Gentiles, because we are sinners.

This good news is given to ALL the people!
God chose to announce his greatest gift to the lowly shepherds, and is announcing it to us, still a lowly people, to this day.
Christ gives us nothing to fear, and everything to be joyful about.

How could we not be joyful?
The curtain is torn, the angels sing to the shepherds, for the King is among us with salvation in his hands!
~Brandon Dieleman

Here is Your God

You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up and do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God.”
 Isaiah 40:9

Who is your God? Flooded with images from commercials, billboards, books, and magazines,  we are given so many competing messages about who our God is. Whether it is a new technology, a new technique for overcoming challenges, a moment, an emotion, or a new self-help guru, we are given so many options of whom or what to crown as God. Our tendency, though, will always remain the same, we want to call out from the mountains that we are God. The search has ended and it is as we always anticipated, we—ourselves—are the beginning and the end.

This joyful cry from Zion that we often proclaim concerning ourselves foreshadows a sobering call in the New Testament that shows we are not the kings we have made ourselves out to be. In John 19:14, Pilate brings Christ before the people and proclaims, “Here is your king.” The response is pure and utter vitriol…we have no king but Caesar, we have no king but ourselves, crucify the one who would claim to be our king. We could not fathom that the good news of Isaiah could be the same news that nailed Jesus of Nazareth to a cross. If it is the same good news, we could never be the God or king we elevate ourselves to be. The proclamation of that king from the mountain turns out to be a cry of dereliction from the cross.

At a family gathering tonight one of my young second cousins raced around the living room, shouting his excitement about the presents to be opened. My aunt bemused that the present could never live up to the expectation. That will always be true, except in Christ. Christ’s most painful moment is our gladdest tidings…in looking at the cross we now say with all certainty and hope, “Here is your God. Here is your King.”

~Ben Gibson

For All the People

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Luke 2:10

Can there be more beautiful words than these?  It must be the most wonderful song ever sung:

Don’t be afraid; be holding on to these words tightly.

I have come especially to tell you this; you have been chosen to be the first to hear.

This isn’t just good news; this is the greatest news ever!

This isn’t just going to make you happy;  you will be overjoyed!

This isn’t just news for you alone; this is for everyone, everywhere, for every time, for evermore.

The best gift of all has been given; no one, not one, has been left out.

And this song was sung for us all to hear.

Behold.  Be holding tight.  To His Word.  To each other.  To Him.

~ Emily Gibson

reblogged from Barnstorming

Beautiful Feet?

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7

What’s with the feet here anyway?   How beautiful are the feet?   Few among us are tempted to put our feet on display, to invite comment on the aesthetic quality of these most pedestrian parts of our bodies.  Sometimes barnacled with bunions and  often clad in calluses, our feet look for a good place to hide.  So something out of the ordinary is happening when feet are placed front and center, inviting such a warm response.

The image set forth here bespeaks at least two realities:  great good news from afar, and deep longing, coupled with anxiety, among those waiting for the news.  The momentous event that impels the messenger could be a battle fought to success, or the impending arrival of someone else who comes to set things aright, or a return from afar with the promise of a new day.

In the incarnation of our Savior and the ensuing news of it, we are the recipients of all that and more.  Our King Jesus has engaged in a terrible battle for us, a battle in which he fought to the death and was slain.  But lo and behold, though dead, he now lives again and reigns gloriously in victory.  He is coming to set things aright here, among us, and the exiles are being freed, redeemed to return home for life in a new day.  What beautiful feet, indeed, that bring us this good news!

~Dan Gibson

Good News for Thirsty Souls

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.
Proverbs 25:25

Wilderness Camp is a yearly tradition at the school that I work at: during the first week of October, small teams of 11th graders embark upon a four-day backpacking trip into the woods and mountains surrounding Tokyo.  One inevitable take-away from the days of hiking and camping is a list of things the students had previously taken for granted.  Usually topping the list is water.  As trails steepen and the sweat starts to pour, water-breaks not only become a want, but a need.

Tired, sore and dehydrated, the way forward seems impossible, the next peak just a little too steep.  Water refreshes the thirsting, weary body, and enables the exhausted sojourner to press on.

What an apt analogy to describe the arrival of good news!  Though Solomon’s kingdom enjoyed peace and prosperity, Israel’s position between major world powers was never entirely secure.  Sandwiched between powerful and vast ancient civilizations, the Israelites lived in the midst of tensions over land, resources and cultural differences that must have seemed so much bigger than them.  Surely their call to bless the nations seemed at times out of reach while living in expectation not of good news, but of invasion or rumors of invasion!

Yet the news that we now reflect upon in this Advent season was not merely good news; it was the best news!  Notably, the news wasn’t arriving in Bethlehem from a distant land; rather, Bethlehem was the epicenter and the news was to be broadcast to many distant lands, world over!  Millennia of stumbling, weariness and hopelessness arrived at that moment to receive nothing less than history’s greatest water-break.  We persevere today in the renewal and refreshment of the good news of Christ.  Quenched with this knowledge, our thirst slaked by Christ’s spirit, we push on, secure in the trust that the hike is not impossible.

~Nate Gibson