Friday, February 08, 2008

Lenten Devotional: Day Three, Friday Feb. 8th: "Good News...Bad News"

Gospel Reading: Luke 2-3
Devotional Emphasis Luke 2:9b “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Yesterday we read Jesus’ birth story through the eyes of Matthew and you may have noted some differences in the two stories. Luke goes into much more detail about the situation surrounding Jesus’ birth. Joseph and Mary went to register for the census being taken. The interesting thing about Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth is the people who became witnesses to Jesus. First, the shepherds in the fields are visited by an angel and then they see the baby Jesus. Simeon and Anna meet Jesus in their old age when he is brought to the temple to be dedicated. When Jesus is twelve, he actually gets left at the temple and he is found among the teachers of law having a theological conversation. It seems everyone who runs into Jesus is astonished by him. Last, but not least, we meet John the Baptist who is preaching that people repent of their sins and receive forgiveness.

One of the thoughts through these two chapters that I could not help be focusing on was, “Good News.” The shepherds were told that the angle had “good news” and Luke tells us that John was preaching the “good news.” It made me wonder what Luke meant by “good news.” When I think of good news, I think of something happening that will be beneficial to me. The shepherds seems to have gotten some of the “good news” that I would expect. They are told that the “Christ” or “Messiah” who is supposed to deliverer them has been born. John’s “good news” hardly seems like something I would want to here. He calls people “broods of vipers” and tells them to flee from the coming wrath. He warns them that being Jewish is not good enough, that their lives ought to reflect their faith.

As I thought about this “good news” it seems that sometimes our perspective about the news changes everything. If we are people who have truly suffered from a particular system, like the poor shepherds, then liberation from this system that has them in bondage is truly good news. However, if we have been taking advantage of people by using a system, then the words of Luke that Jesus will redeem the people from the system will be very bad. I believe this is why John asked people to repent or have a change in heart and stop working against God and join God. I believe the same call is made for us today. God calls us to stop working against him and to join him by following Jesus’ way. If you are unsure of Jesus’ way, keep reading the gospels through then Lenten season and learn for yourself and then follow him.

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