Speaking of religion: What's your best news?
Bad news seems to grab most of the headlines, but what about Good News? What's the best news you've ever heard? For me, one that ranks pretty high is what we called "Two Pink Lines." The pregnancy test showed one pink line for Not Pregnant, and two pink lines for Pregnant. So seeing the Two Pink Lines for the first time after a long wait was good news indeed. We even made up a silly song about it. My life would never be the same after that, and of course that culminated months later with more Good News: "Its a boy!"
But what about you? What's the best news you've ever heard?
Perhaps it was when you heard or said "Yes" to the long-awaited marriage proposal. For us I remember hiking together on the side of our favorite mountain during a beautiful sunset, and stopping at the edge overlooking the valley. I stumbled through some now-forgotten but heartfelt words, popped the question, popped open the ring box, and quickly snapped it shut (so the ring wouldn't go flying off the edge of the cliff). We couldn't wait to share the news of our happiness with everyone. Actually, in my excitement leading up to that night, I couldn't help but divulge the news to anyone I would run across, so she was nearly the last to know.
There's all kinds of possibilities for good news. Maybe your best news was when the doctor gave the all-clear, giving you a new lease on life. When once there was only darkness and the threat of death ahead, now the light breaks through to new possibilities. Suffering had finally given way to health and strength. I've known this kind of Good News too, and it was indeed life-changing.
Perhaps your best news was when the war was finally over, and the troops were sent home. When once death and destruction were constant threats, now peace reigned and families were reunited. Those who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice made it all possible.
Or perhaps you heard those magic words: "You're Hired!" All your hopes and dreams of a fulfilling career had finally come to pass, and things were looking up like never before. The purpose and passion of your life was becoming a reality.
Maybe for you it was when the judge declared "Not Guilty" and you or your loved-one was finally set free. Somehow, some way, by some miracle of justice or mercy or both, incarceration gave way to freedom.
So what's the best news you've ever heard? The best news that I know of is all of these things rolled into one: the gospel of Jesus: "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8).
The word "gospel" simply means "good news," and if you stop and think about it, this really must be the Best News Ever. Just like the good news of pregnancy and new life is thrilling, so the good news of new spiritual life is eternally life-changing. The culmination of human love in a marriage is good news indeed, and yet God's perfect love for you is even better. The personal resurrection found in a terminal illness being cured is like nothing else, except the eternal spiritual resurrection that God offers you in the gospel. The news of a peace treaty can change history, and the good news of Jesus achieving peace between you and God changes your eternity. The good news of new job opportunities can set you on a new path, and yet the best news of God's love and forgiveness sets you on the path to God himself. And the good news of being declared innocent and set free is indeed liberating: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
If you don't agree that the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the best news ever, then perhaps you haven't understood it yet. There's lots of confusion and misunderstanding about the true gospel out there, but in its essence it is quite simple. If you would like to learn more, ask questions, or receive this Best News for yourself, I would be honored to help. First Baptist Church of Bennington is offering a free course called Christianity Explored, which is a seven-week seminar for anyone who wants to think about the big questions of life, and explore what the Good News is all about. It is starting soon, so please contact me at 802-440-0934 for more information, or visit fbcbennington.org or join us any Sunday at 10:30am at 601 Main Street.
May the Good News of Jesus' love for you be the best news you've ever heard.
Bob Wiegers is the pastor of First Baptist Church, whose purpose is to share the love of Jesus in and around Bennington.
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