September 01, 2020 | Letters from the Lead Pastor by Brandon Lenhart
When was the last time you heard good news?
Now, coming into the fall of 2020, we have experienced much in the way of bad news on a regular basis. COVID-19, racial tensions, the vast political divide, unemployment, and tensions among the nations of the world are just a few of the things that we have been faced with on a large scale this year. In addition to these things, many of us have had bad news that has affected us personally; things that have thrown us for a loop, and left us dazed and confused. We need a break! We desperately need some good news!
In the Gospel of Luke, the fourth chapter, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah (chapter 61), as His very own mission statement, if you will. Teaching in the synagogue of Nazareth (His hometown), Jesus reads and explains that, “The Spirit of God is upon” Him. That “He has anointed [Jesus] to bring the Good News to the poor…” But, what is the “Good News” of which He speaks?
You see, for many centuries, since the time of Isaiah (and before), the people had been awaiting a Messiah who would come and set them free from oppression and troubles. They were awaiting a messenger of God who would take away their hardships and set everything right. Now, flash-forward several hundred centuries from the time of Isaiah to the time of Jesus, and Jesus is reading this very passage in a synagogue in Nazareth proclaiming (in essence) that He is the one for whom they have waited. You would think they would be excited, right? No. As a matter of fact, Luke records that after further discussion, the crowd that heard this teaching became incensed, to the point of violence against Jesus, and that because of their unbelief, He was unable to do miracles in their midst.
What should have been good news to them, became news that angered and frustrated them to the point of violence.
Today, as we consider this passage of Scripture and the good news of the Gospel of Christ, it’s important to remember that good news may not seem like good news at the time, but if it’s from God it always works out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them (Rm8:28).
There are several reasons that the people of Nazareth became angry, but I believe one of those reasons is that they struggled seeing Good News for what it was. Jesus was the Good News made flesh, but they couldn’t see it. They had heard Isaiah’s prophecies before, but had expected something different; and because of this, they ultimately missed it.
I’ve been told that you always find what you’re looking for. What are you looking for today: Good News, or Bad? With Christ in our lives, we live daily with Good News inside of us!