Scripture Reading: Mark 1:14-20
Key Verse(s): After John was arrested by Herod Antipas, Jesus went to Galilee to preach God's Good News. "At last the time has come!" he announced. "The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!" (Mark 1:14-15)
What is the Good News of God? These first words spoken by Jesus in the book of Mark give the core of his teaching: that the long-awaited Messiah has come to break the power of sin and begin God's personal reign on earth. Most of the people who heard this message were oppressed, poor, and without hope. Jesus' words were good news because they offered freedom, justice, and hope.
Scripture Reading: Luke 4:38-44
Key Verse(s): [Jesus] replied, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other places, too, because that is why I was sent." (Luke 4:43)
The kingdom of God was good news! It was good news to the Jews because they had been awaiting the coming of the promised Messiah ever since the Babylonian captivity. It is good news for us also because it means freedom from slavery to sin and selfishness. The kingdom of God is here and now because the Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of believers. Yet it is also in the future because Jesus will return to reign over a perfect kingdom where sin and evil no longer exist.
Scripture Reading: Romans 1:1-32
Key Verse(s): This Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. It is the Good News about his Son, Jesus, who came as a man, born into King David's royal family line. (Romans 1:2-3)
Here Paul summarizes the Good News about Jesus Christ, who (1) came as a human by natural descent, (2) was part of the Jewish royal line through David, (3) died and was raised from the dead, and (4) opened the door for God's kindness to be poured out on us. The book of Romans is an expansion of these themes.
Christians have both privilege and a great responsibility. Paul and the apostles received forgiveness (grace) as an undeserved privilege. They also received the responsibility to share the message of God's forgiveness with others. God also graciously forgives our sins when we believe in him as Lord. In doing this, we are committing ourself to begin a new life. Paul's new life also involved a God-given responsibility--to witness of God's Good News to the world as a missionary. God may or may not call you to be an overseas missionary, but he does call you (and all believers) to witness and be an example of the changed life that Jesus Christ has begun in you.