Extra! Extra! Read All About It
By: St Mark’s Youth
I don’t consider myself an avid reader of the daily newspaper, but like a lot of people, I’ll pick it up every so often so long as it’s nearby or I’m having my breakfast at Maccas. Usually I would just flip to the back and glance over the sports section, reading up on everything from the football to golf just to pass time while I wait for my order to come out. On this one particular occasion however, I noticed the Pope of Rome on the front page smiling infectiously whilst passing through the crowd swarming around him. The best part though? The title read – “Christ is coming!” From what I understood, the piece was declaring the Pope’s upcoming visit to the US at the time, perhaps the title suggesting he was a figure of Christ on earth. I didn’t get time to read the whole way through, my bacon & egg roll came out before I could finish the article but still – talk about good news!
It’s not every day that we hear or read about good news. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is getting significantly darker each passing day, so anything that shines even the slightest of lights in our lives should be met with joy. That’s not really the case though is it? Each passing day we read about another shooting, another killing somewhere in the world, another terrorist attack, more hurt, more pain, more and more darkness. So where will the good news come from, if there is any left at all? Fortunately, by the grace of God we have been given the ultimate Good News, readily available to us every moment of every day – the Gospel.
So then, it begs the question, what is Gospel? The word “Gospel” comes from old English “God spell” meaning “glad tidings” or “good news,” and is a direct translation of the Greek word “Evangelion.” This is why we call the writers of the 4 Gospels “evangelists,” because they spread the good news. And what was the good news that they were spreading? Salvation!! It’s the ultimate Good News. Christ conquering death by the power of His own death, breaking the gates of Hades and opening up Paradise for us to enter into eternal life with Him. That’s some pretty great news.
But hang on, does that mean the 4 books we call “The Gospels” are the only ones that talk about the Good News of Salvation? What about the salvation of the Israelites in the Exodus from Egypt? Or the salvation offered to Rahab in the battle for Jericho? And surely the three youth rescued from the fire got a taste of this salvation? The truth is, the entire bible is filled with good news! The pinnacle of this good news being the life and works of our Lord Jesus Christ written by evangelists – Christ died, rose again and ascended to Heaven to prepare a place for us!
Okay, so we have this Good News, sweet, what next? Well, like we said, the world is in need of some good news, it is a dark place, and when you’re in a dark room and you want to see, what do you do? You turn on a bit of light.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matt 5:16)
This light that is in us is the Good News of Salvation and if we are called to be the light of the world then ultimately we are called to be the Gospel. How? Are we supposed to walk around yelling on the streets “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”? Sure, but these days that would warrant a trip to the mental health department. The key is in the verse above spoken by our Lord Himself, “that they may see your good works,” He said, not “words” but “works.” Our Lord Christ knew that actions spoke louder than words. St. Francis of Assisi used to reiterate this sentiment when he taught his own disciples saying, “preach at all times, and only use words if you have to.” It is not enough to talk about giving – I must give. It is not enough to talk about loving – I must love. People don’t want to hear about Christ, they want to see Him!
There is a beautiful story about a missionary who travelled to a country in Africa to serve in the villages there. The problem was, he didn’t know the language. So he made a conscious decision to serve them, heal their wounds, feed them and above all, love them as best as he could until one day many years later, he died. The organization or church that he was a part of decided to send another missionary but this time, someone who knew the language in order that they may preach to the villagers also. When the new missionary arrived in the country, the first thing he did was assemble the villagers in one place, and he began to preach to them about our Lord Jesus Christ. He told them of all the wonderful things Christ did when He was on earth – how He cared for the children, how He healed the broken, how He loved everyone, until one villager stood up and said, “What are you talking about? We know this story already.” The man, taken aback responded, “How? No ones ever told it to you.” The villager confidently replied, “No we know this man you’re talking about – we just buried him last week.”
We have been given the only gift capable of healing the world, the only news that has the capacity to bring light to this slowly dimming planet. Because of this gift, I am no longer brought under the darkness of this earth – for I am light. Because of this gift, many around me, myself included, no longer have to live in captivity to pain and hurt – for I am encouragement. And because of this gift, many around me can finally see the beautiful and precious face of our Friend Jesus Christ – for I am the Good News.