What would we believe if the Bible stopped after the four Gospels? Obviously, God wanted us to have the inspired commentary of the apostles, but let’s take time this to look at “just
Today we see the heart of Jesus’ mission and message. Our lesson reminds us that there was and is reason for a jubilee; for rejoicing over Jesus. Jesus’ words clearly point to it: “He (God) has anointed me to preach good news” (verse 18a – emphasis mine). Jesus did not enter our world to tell us discouraging news—condemning news! When we really look at Jesus and His life, as well as His message, it causes a jubilee. There was good reason for the followers of Jesus to cut palm branches and wave them while singing. It may be true that they did not understand the full implications of Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem, but they understood the good news He was preaching!
Take a moment and think about how you feel when you get good news. Think about the smile on your face, the joy in your heart. Maybe you go around the house singing your favorite song. Possibly you find yourself whistling or humming a happy tune. It makes for a great time in your life. By definition these times are a jubilee—a time of rejoicing! The good news Jesus brought can produce a continual jubilee in our lives. Don’t focus on a problem today. Focus on Jesus and His good news! He conquered the grave and gained the victory over sin, death and hell. Easter is all about Good News!
Let’s look a little closer at Jesus’ proclamation of good news. Notice that Jesus adds the words, “to the poor” to His statement of purpose. Why would Jesus seem to be exclusive to preaching the good news just to the poor? I believe we find some interpretation from Jesus’ own words in His Sermon on the Mount. Jesus proclaimed in this sermon:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3)
In theological terms, the term poor takes on new meaning. It points to an attitude of neediness. It describes people whose hearts are open to help from another, a humble spirit. “Rich,” on the other hand, paints a picture of an independent spirit; one who needs no savior. Jesus came to preach good news to the poor. One might say: Jesus’ preaching was good news to the poor, not so much to the rich. The rich, too often, don’t feel the neediness
of the soul. They are not open to instructions from another person. The rich didn’t find Jesus’ message of letting go of this world’s stuff and clinging to the eternal a good news message. In Matthew 9:16 we start reading the story of a rich man coming to Jesus, asking how to get eternal life. Jesus looked deep into his soul and knew he relied too heavily on his wealth. Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and come back to follow Him. The rich man went away sad. Jesus’ message is good news to the poor in spirit. What would Jesus say to you?
One of our problems these days is our love for instant gratification. Instant gratification has a tantalizing effect on mankind. The more we have it, the more we want it. Our want for this immediate gratification grows into a demand. Jesus knew that life must be lived with more discipline if we would truly enjoy it. Working toward a goal and anticipating an event makes life exciting and enjoyable. The planning, or the journey, should be a build up for the event. Those who want to skip the anticipation part miss out on the highest levels of joy. As Christ followers, we are looking forward to our rewards. We are living life in this world, knowing that the next world is being prepared for us. Jesus looked at His disciples and said: Be happy—you’re poor now, but the kingdom of God is coming! Be happy—you’re hungry now, but you will be satisfied. Be happy—you weep now, but you will laugh later! Be happy—in fact, leap for joy when people insult you or exclude you. Great is your reward in heaven.
Yes, Jesus created a life of jubilee for His followers. Everybody has bad days and bad things happen to them. But Christ followers can be happy knowing God has plans to make up for all of that, and more, for His children. I realize that we don’t leap for joy over the trials of life, but we should. One second in heaven and we will! The moment we step into our eternity, we will truly understand, and the eternal party will begin. This is Good News that results from Easter. Let it begin to rejoice…now!
Pastor Ben Walls