I love to listen to different preachers each week. They all bring a different message with different insights and different perspectives. One of my favorite speakers is Andy Stanley. He just talks very plainly. When I was growing up, my preacher used fancy words that went over my head, and it’s a wonder I ever came to understand the Gospel message! But I did. But what I didn’t understand was the relationship and how we are to pass the Good News of Jesus to others. It’s a wonder how the church movement ever continued throughout the generations. How a small bunch of men and women had enough fire in them to spread the Good News. Andy Stanley pointed out in his Easter message that it wasn’t about Jesus’ teachings or His claims that kept the movement going.
After the death of Jesus, the movement died. Everybody scattered. No one believed the Son of God could die. No one believed the Messiah could die. But Jesus was both of these things, and He died anyway. The disciples didn’t get it. When Mary Magdalene came back from the tomb, the disciples didn’t say “oh, Jesus has risen!” They weren’t camping out at the graveside waiting with anticipation. Even though, Jesus had told them a couple of times, He was going to die and be resurrected on the third day. They weren’t there for it. They didn’t believe the women when they returned that Jesus wasn’t there. Peter and John ran to the tomb and found it empty. Scriptures says “then John believed.”
It was the witness of His resurrection that changed things. Jesus appeared to them several times after His resurrection. They started speaking not of Jesus’ teachings – although they were good. They started speaking about Jesus’ Good News. He died and came back to life; the Son of God came to earth to save us from our sins by His death and resurrection. He is the Resurrection and the Life. The Good News is Jesus! The Bible from beginning to end is centered on Jesus. Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Yes, we want to live as He did. Yes, we want to follow His examples that He set when He lived on this earth. But that’s not the reason the movement caught fire. The reason was the people saw Jesus after His resurrection. It changed everything. Then the men wrote about their time with Jesus. The ones who were eyewitnesses recorded the events so that we might also believe.
Jesus in one of His final prayers prayed for us – here, right now, in this time and place – for us to be unified with Him as He was one with the Father. Through the message that was spoken through the centuries, we have been a part of the movement. It’s in our hands to continue the movement by speaking of the Good News so that others will be unified in this same message. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” I am the light of the world.” Jesus said “I am the gate for the sheep.” “I am the good shepherd.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.” The soldiers came looking for Jesus on that last night. He asked them, “Who is it you want?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “I AM” (in the original language). (See the Gospel of John.)
Jesus. The name above all names. The one who died and rose again. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth. This is the Good News. This message is for all to believe. In the book Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warrens, the first line is: “It’s not about you.” This is not about me at all. If it is, then it will be of no value to anyone. The right perspective is: God’s glory through His Son by His grace and His mercy! And then He wants a relationship with us! Isn’t that Good News?
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” Then Jesus told them “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 17:25-26; 20:29