January 26, 2015

Called to Proclaim the Good News (Epiphany 3)

An Epiphany Moment is when you suddenly see what business you are in in a new way. For example as computers were developing in the 1950’s the new CEO of a tiny family business - the Adams Adding Machine Co. had an Epiphany moment. He suddenly realized that they were not just in the business of making adding machines. They renamed the company and became the 1970's computer giant, International Business Machines. So what ‘business’ is our church in?

Jonah responded to God’s call by proclaiming what seemed like bad news - destruction of the city; but this this led to repentance and turning back to God which was Good News. Paul reminds us that this is an urgent task (1 Cor. 7.29). “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.” The Reading reminds us that we, as believers and followers of Jesus, are also called to proclaim the good news of God. It is a lot deeper and more powerful than the shallow platitudes of ‘God loves you’ we hear so often.

  1. Jesus was called, anointed to proclaim the Good News
He was claiming the role of the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah 800 years earlier as recorded in Luke 4.16-21. If we study this passage we can see it gives us a very detailed understanding of not only what the Good News is, but what proclaiming it does. People are freed from from their prisons of false teaching. This freedom then leads to o healing from physical illness and human and spiritual oppression. The Good News is that  the spiritual kingdom of God is breaking into the physical world:
  • God loves us and wants a personal love relationship with us
  • God has come Jesus to create a new way for us to be forgiven our sins and be able to stand in the presence of a holy God
  • God continues to come to us as the Holy Spirit to guide us, comfort us and heal us

2. Proclaiming this Good News frees people from their prisons
Jesus was concerned about freeing people from physical prisons - but He was also freeing people from their mental and spiritual prisons:
  • False teaching about God and spiritual life
  • Fear of death
  • Fear of separation from God, spiritual death
  • Prisons of ignorance - not knowing God, Fear of God

3. Proclaiming the GN leads to “recovery of sight for the blind”
There is no doubt that Jesus healed people who were physically blind. But this is just the beginning of the Good News. Blindness would be the most difficult physical condition to heal. We can unpack this as shorthand for Jesus - and his followers; to be able to heal any physical condition or illness.
  • Healing miracles testify to the authenticity of Jesus and His teachings
  • Healing miracles in our time authenticate the supernatural spiritual worldview of the Bible - not exaggerated
  • Healing miracles are one way in which we proclaim the GN

4. Proclaiming the GN also calls us to “set the oppressed free”
Jesus teaching of love for our neighbour includes actions that free people from both physical and spiritual oppression:
  • Proclaiming the Good News to the oppressed
  • Active personal support of the poor and oppressed
  • Prayer and Healing Ministry that frees people from spiritual oppression, destructive behavior and addictions

5. “Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?”
This is our third Baptismal Promise (BAS p. 159). It is not the work of the clergy. It is the work of all Baptized Christians to proclaim the Good News by:
  • How we live our lives
  • How we spend our time and money
  • What we do and say to other people

We are called to proclaim God’s blessings of forgiveness, healing and justice to all God’s people

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