Godspell

Godspell

Good news, Godspell, Glad Tidings, these are all translations of the Greek word used to describe the four books of the New Testament. This word had some special meaning to those who heard it. They did not read it. If anything, it was read to them. And it was not in the form of a book with 27 items in it. It probably came alone. Greeted with enthusiasm and listened to intently because it may have to be passed along to another gathering of believers.

Not unlike Russia during the Communist regime or China, people thrilled at having a piece of the bible. In those cases, they often, upon having a bible given, they would tear it into sections and pieces and hand it out to everyone. Then as days passed, they would trade their precious piece to another for their reading. We are so blessed to have the Bible around for us. We have numerous copies, different translations, commentaries, and ones we have not opened for years as we find a favorite for this period. I know I have a shelf of bibles that are not being used; some fragile from a lot of use and others collection pieces.

But the early church got the good news from people who were eyewitnesses or knew an eye witness or studied with someone who was taught be someone who was with Jesus. It reminds me of two of my professors who were discussing and debating an issue of theology. The one made a quote or attempted one of a German theologian, possibly Karl Barth, and the other said that was not accurate. The first thought it was so, but the latter said, no, I was in class in Germany sitting under his teaching and this is what he said. You could have heard a pin drop for the one who was there and heard the teaching had the experience and knowledge of the famous theologian. The eye witness trumped the observation of the other.

The Gospels were great news, but the good news preceded the writing of the good news. There was good news as the believers shared their powerful life stories. Somehow the good news was transmitted without a written document. The documents came 30 to 50 years after the resurrection. For the Jews, the believers could take some prophecies of the Jewish scriptures and make a case, but the overwhelming power was not the pulling of prophecies, but the power of the resurrection. Why do you think the Jewish leaders tried to spread rumors? The resurrection was such good news that they had to try to destroy it or muddle the belief in it. Yet, there were over 500 witnesses to the resurrection. IN a court of law, that would be such overwhelming evidence that it would be irrefutable.

The power of the new covenant is the resurrection. The power is Jesus. When he said that he IS the resurrection and the life, we can take him at his word since he proved it and had so many witnesses that the good news remains powerful to this moment!

  • Pastor Bill

The Amazing Gospels

The Amazing Gospels

This coming Wednesday we begin a new series in our Connect Group. Actually, by popular demand, we will begin looking into the Gospels. As I have mentioned several times, the Lord kept me in the gospels for cycles before releasing me to read or study further. 

What I found was the teachings of Jesus are difficult. On the surface they seem so benign, easy, simple in the statement. Yet, as you ponder them, they become revolutionary, hard, complex. The challenge he puts before us contradicts our human nature. There is no way to live his principles without serious divine help. For instance, love your enemies. We are taught to hate our enemies, set traps for our enemies, misconstrue everything they do, fight our enemies, and ultimately destroy our enemies however that can be accomplished whether physical or character assassination. But love your enemies. Can you see how this teaching, along with many more, will upset your lifestyle, challenge your thinking, and force significant change in your actions.

I think that we have studied the gospels or least read through them on our way to Paul’s letters. We pull our favorite Christmas stories and Easter events from the gospels, but to really, really see the universe changing teachings of Jesus, not so much.

I know I really like the miracle accounts, the healings, the power over death. We can focus on the miracles and have a great time moving through the displays of his power over sickness, nature, and incurable diseases. We can see him as the healer, the miracle worker. We may even want to do the same. I know I do.

But, as you peel back the displays, the authority over the demonic, there is so much more. The compassion for humanity, the care of the outcast, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised begins to grab your attention. There is so much more going on than a prophet speaking to a corrupt system; there had been many of those before. He is so much more than a reformer, a teacher. There is something going on that had not happened before in anyone’s teachings. In fact, the remark that he taught with authority was made regularly. So powerful his assertions that it impacted the listeners that this was something new, a source that had not been explored before. The religious system could detect that in Jesus there was something that was going to ruin them. They decided to kill him before it went too far. Kill this 33 year old and be done with this new authority that was being expressed and enthralled the people, drawing them to him and his word.

It is this approach that we will take in our study. We will be looking for the teachings that turns the world upside down, that shakes the heavenliness, that moves nations and peoples. This teaching and lifestyle that will dictate and rule eternity. I am looking for Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life. Then to walk in the way.

  • Pastor Bill