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The Good News Revolution

• Greg Boyd

Continuing our study of Luke, we managed to get as far as Luke 1:18-25! Zechariah is in the temple and is visited by the angel Gabriel. Zechariah questions Gabriel about the promises of a son. He has asked for a sign of this. Gabriel grants Zechariah the sign: silence until the birth of John the Baptist! God had sent Gabriel to deliver “good news” to Zechariah. This idea of “good news” was the centerpiece of Greg’s message today.

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Continuing our study of Luke, we managed to get as far as Luke 1:18-25! Zechariah is in the temple and is visited by the angel Gabriel. Zechariah questions Gabriel about the promises of a son. He has asked for a sign of this. Gabriel grants Zechariah the sign: silence until the birth of John the Baptist! God had sent Gabriel to deliver “good news” to Zechariah. This idea of “good news” was the centerpiece of Greg’s message today.

In the Old Testament, the idea of the coming reign of God through the messiah was understood to be good news, especially to those who had been mistreated, oppressed, or who were broken hearted (Is. 61:1). This word from Gabriel would surely call to Zechariah’s mind this greater sense of good news associated with God’s messiah. Throughout the New Testament too, we see consistent reference to this “good news.” Just in the next few chapters of Luke notice that it comes up in 2:10, 3:18, 4:18 and 4:43 with 4:18 making the connection to Is. 61:1 quite explicit.

Greg offered two main points about “good news.” First, good news is good because it is beyond your control. You can’t make it happen. If you could, the result might be good, but it wouldn’t be news, it’d simply be a good accomplishment. When we receive good news, we receive it with joy because we will enjoy favorable circumstances when unfavorable circumstances were just as likely, or seemingly inevitable.

And that is the second point, that bad news seems likely, or at least possible, and yet, things turn around so that good news is what is received instead! The more certain and ominous the bad news was, the greater the joy in receiving the good news. From here, Greg challenged us to take a sober look around at our world and see what the bad news is so we can best appreciate the good news of God in Christ.

Greg started out by reminding us of the biblical perspective on the state of affairs in the world. We are said to be lost, enemies of God, sinners who are persistently disobedient. And when we look at the world around us, we can see that this is true. Yes, we have made leaps and bounds of progress in the last century, but how much of that technology has been used against the human race? Nearly all of it in one form or another. We are ten times less generous than we were just 40 years ago, we spend hundreds of times more money on weapons than we do on feeding the poor, 30,000 people will die of malnutrition TODAY. Issues of hate, race, class, greed, and so forth are no less prevalent than they have been historically. We are not really getting better. We could go on for a long time, but the picture is clear, there is plenty of bad news in the world if you simply open your eyes to see it.

This is why the good news of Christ, the gospel, is so joyful! Though we abandoned God, God never abandons us. Instead, God became a human being, died for us, and offered us all hope through the power of the resurrection. In Christ, the year of Jubilee is here! The captives are to be set free! The hungry are to be fed! Through Christ, God was setting in motion a revolution that will change the world.

Sometimes, the better the good news is, the harder it is to believe. But let us remember Zechariah. Let us not be silenced because we refused to believe God’s promises for us and to participate in the bringing about of God’s kingdom.

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Topics: Salvation, Sin


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 1:18-25

    Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

    The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

    Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

    When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

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