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The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy.”

Luke 2:10 GWT

Good news inspires hope and joy.

I’ll never forget how the message of the Bible changed my dad in the final days of his battle with cancer. What started off as a despairing situation with my dad’s terminal diagnosis became an opportunity not only for our relationship to be healed, but also for him to discover forgiveness and new hope

As I visited my dad, I talked with him about how spiritual friends had shared the Bible with me to help me overcome my guilt and bitterness and find purpose for my life. It was at that moment that my dad began letting me share Scripture with him, despite rejecting the Bible for years. 

He was struck by the Good News that God was willing to forgive him and wanted a relationship with him—even after all his years of shunning God. As we studied the Bible together in those brief hospital visits, my dad began apologizing for the impact his selfishness had made on me and our family. He vulnerably shared how sad he was that he would not be around to meet my future kids. He then made the decision to get baptized, and joyfully expressed gratitude that despite his body failing, his heart was healed and hope renewed.  

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What is the Good News that Jesus preached?

This is the power of the Gospel, which the Bible defines as “Good News” (Mark 1:1): Jesus sacrificed his life to free us from our sins and fill us with tireless hope. The Good News makes the hope and healing my dad described available to us every day. The question, then, is whether or not we are experiencing it.

Does your heart need healing in any areas? Do you need renewed hope in any part of your life?

Whether you’re reviving your convictions and faith in the Good News or learning about it for the first time, this Bible study will help you understand what the Good News is and how to experience the hope and healing Jesus brought with him everywhere he went.

Why we need the Good News more than ever

After the last few years, we’re in need of good news more than ever. Hearing and sharing positive news has been proven to decrease anxiety, motivate us to positive action, boost our mood and outlook, improve our relationships, help us adapt after difficult situations, and even improve heart health. 

God’s Good News is the best kind of positive news, and he wants everyone to hear it:

He wants all people to be saved and to learn the truth. There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and humans—a human, Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for all people to free them from their sins. This message is valid for every era. I was appointed to spread this Good News and to be an apostle to teach people who are not Jewish about faith and truth. I’m telling you the truth. I’m not lying.  

1 Timothy 2:4-7 GW

What makes the message of the Bible so attractive is that it is a message of change. No matter what weakness, challenge, or sin we have in our lives, Jesus can free us from it. The Good News gives us the hope of God pursuing us, forgiving us, and changing us so we can fulfill his destiny for our lives.

The Good News brings hope and healing

Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him.

He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

Luke 4:14, 16-21 NLT

This account is the first time we see Jesus preaching the Good News in the book of Luke. Jesus had just come from 40 days in the wilderness alone, battling a barrage of temptations from Satan. After winning those battles, Jesus returned to Galilee with the power of the Spirit and he used that power to give people the good news. No amount of temptation, testing, or tiredness could hold Jesus back from telling this message. 

The good news Jesus shared was “good” because he promised hope and healing for every human need: the emotional, the physical, and the spiritual. This was how he not only changed people’s lives, but the world

Let’s take a closer look at each type of person Jesus addresses in this passage:

Who is the Good News for?

The poor

Jesus brought a ministry where everyone’s material needs would be provided for and people could be free of the strain of these concerns (see Matthew 6:25-34, Acts 4:32-35).

While this is certainly good news in and of itself, Jesus also came to give hope to those experiencing a different kind of poverty: being poor in spirit.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3 NIV

Those who were poor in spirit would find hope in God’s unfailing love—something far greater than what the world could offer (John 3:16-17).

The blind

Healing all kinds of diseases was a big part of Jesus’ ministry (see John 9:1-7 and Matthew 9:27-30 for examples), but Jesus’ “recovery of sight” was not limited to the physically blind. His healing was also for the spiritually blind—those who were unable to see God’s vision for their lives. Jesus opened the eyes of those blinded by the pride and darkness that kept them from seeing and understanding God’s possibilities (Obadiah 1:3 Voice).

The captives

The Jewish people had been exiled from their land, and even when they returned, they remained an oppressed and conquered people. While perhaps many people of that day thought that God’s promised Messiah would free them from the captivity of the Roman Empire, Jesus brought hope that went beyond the physical realm. He brought freedom from the spiritual darkness that enslaves our souls.  

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Romans 7:21-25 NLT

Sin is enslaving. The release from captivity that Jesus fulfilled was far more powerful than any human victory. He promised freedom to those held captive by sin, regret, and bitterness. Spiritual captivity prevents us from experiencing love, forgiveness, and close relationships. Jesus came to free us from these spiritual entanglements we can’t break free from on our own.

The oppressed

To be “oppressed” is to be crushed or burdened. As we’ve covered, Jesus’ audience would certainly have felt oppressed by the Roman government. The Kingdom established by Jesus would be different; it would be a place where leaders served one another with humility and every person was treated with love and respect (Matthew 20:26, 1 Corinthians 12:12-24). 

In addition to this kind of freedom, Jesus was promising freedom to the spiritually oppressed. While the religious traditions of the day crushed people with expectations they couldn’t meet, Jesus lifted these burdens. His message included people who were otherwise excluded (see Luke 7:36-40, John 4, Luke 19:1-10 for some examples). His life and message and his death on the cross would bring freedom for those oppressed by guilt, accusations, and the judgmental criticism of others. 

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, those who had been oppressed, excluded, and mistreated would be set free from the burdens they carried. 

Jesus’ message was incredibly hopeful, and his promises still stand for each of us today. The Gospel is a message of freedom, hope, and healing designed to meet our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. 

Pause and reflect

  • How have you felt poor, blind, imprisoned, or oppressed? What are some areas you would like to experience hope and healing?
  • Who around you is currently poor, blind, imprisoned, or oppressed?

What the Good News is NOT

When our lives thrive spiritually because of the freedom and forgiveness we experience in a relationship with God, it’s nothing short of inspiring! There are, however, different gospels we turn to when the Bible is no longer the standard of our lives. These gospels deter us from finding real hope that God desires for us.  

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 

Galatians 1:6-8 NIV

We all experience feeling poor, blind, imprisoned, and oppressed at different points in our lives. The issue isn’t whether we experience those things, but what “gospel” we turn to to heal those wounds. Here are some examples of “different gospels” we often live by instead of the true Gospel message:

What is the Good News? 4

The gospel of avoidance

This “gospel” teaches us to stay superficial and avoid dealing with deeper areas of our hearts. We may do a lot of religious activities, but we resist honest conversations. The gospel of avoidance convinces us that some things are just too big or too difficult for God; so instead of praying and talking about them, we bury these things as deep as we can  (Matthew 23:25-26).

The gospel of feelings

This “gospel” teaches us to live by our emotions. We may live by the Bible when it feels good, but as soon as we feel a negative emotion, our faith in God and Scripture go out the window. Unlike those who live by the gospel of avoidance, we are all too aware of our deep feelings and we believe them as truth. We live to satisfy our desires and emotions rather than living to please God and love others (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

The gospel of success

This “gospel” teaches us that success and ambition bring acceptance, love, and security. As long as God is blessing our lives and things are going well, we will seek him. Once we start encountering some difficulties, or feel a sense of failure, we blame God and abandon him (Proverbs 19:3 NIV).

The gospel of attention 

This gospel teaches us to compromise. It tells us to throw out what we believe so we can gain the approval, applause or admiration of people around us. When we’re living by this gospel, we would rather do things that go against our conscience and be accepted by the world than change the world for the better (1 Peter 4:3-6 NIV).

Pause and reflect

  • Which gospel does your life reflect? 
  • Do any of these distorted “gospels” compete with the true Gospel in your life? How?  

The Good News is life-changing

Now let me remind you, brothers, of what the Gospel really is, for it has not changed—it is the same Good News I preached to you before… and it is this Good News that saves you if you still firmly believe it, unless of course you never really believed it in the first place. I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me, that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, and that he was buried, and that three days afterwards he arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold. 

But whatever I am now it is all because God poured out such kindness and grace upon me—and not without results: for I have worked harder than all the other apostles, yet actually I wasn’t doing it, but God working in me, to bless me.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 10 TLB

The real Gospel is about God pouring out kindness and grace in our lives; he gives us his best when we are at our worst. God loved us so deeply that he sacrificed Jesus to free us from our darkness and sins. He then exerted his power to raise Jesus from the dead, showing us that his power is both accessible and able to help us overcome any sin or obstacle that stands in the way of us being in a relationship with him. 

The apostle Paul, who wrote this passage, tells us that this kindness and grace changed who he was. The results of God’s grace were evident in how he lived his life.

I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world.

Ephesians 1:18-20 NCV

The results of God’s grace will be evident in how we live our lives, as well. There are things in our lives that only the power of God and Jesus can change. 

Before I could help my dad as I mentioned earlier, I needed to first go through the transformative change the Good News brings. Through the Bible, friends helped me understand God’s gracious willingness to forgive me for all my selfish ambition, lying, and resentment. I became aware of not only how deeply I had hurt each person in my life, but also how I had no justifiable reason or right to blame them for my choices.

Read More: Make Your Quiet Time With God Life-Changing by Doing These 5 Things

God’s forgiveness compelled me to take responsibility and reconcile relationships with family members and friends I had hurt, especially with my dad. As I apologized and began experiencing closer relationships, it compelled me to share about this Good News with more of my friends and family. I wanted them to experience the hope and healing in their lives too. My dad and one of my closest cousins eventually studied the Bible and become Christians as well. God’s grace was definitely not without effect in my life and my family!

God intended Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection not only to save us from an empty life without hope, but to build our hope and give us the power to change in our lives and in the lives of others.

Pause and reflect

  • What’s an area of your life in which you need God’s power to change? How do you think his kindness and grace could produce change in your life?

The Good News heals broken relationships

The old life is gone-and see-a new life has begun! All of this is a gift from our Creator God, who has pursued us and brought us into a restored and healthy relationship with Him through the Anointed. And He has given us the same mission, the ministry of reconciliation, to bring others back to Him. It is central to our good news that God was in the Anointed making things right between Himself and the world. This means He does not hold their sins against them. But it also means He charges us to proclaim the message that heals and restores our broken relationships with God and each other.

2 Corinthians 5:17b-19 Voice

Relationships can be separated and broken by sins—such as bitterness, deceit, pride, self-indulgence—and the consequential dysfunctions these cause. Yet God took the initiative to restore a healthy relationship with us, and in turn our relationships with others can be healed too.

When we understand how passionate God is about having a healthy and intimate relationship with us, not holding our past sins against us, we can imitate God’s heart in our relationships with others. 

For you were called to this kind of life, as Isaiah said, He did no wrong deed, and no evil word came from His mouth. The Anointed One suffered for us and left us His example so that we could follow in His steps. When He was verbally abused, He didn’t return the abuse; when He suffered, He didn’t make threats to cause suffering in return; instead, He trusted that all would be put right by the One who is just when He judges. He took on our sins in His body when He died on the cross so that we, being dead to sin, can live for righteousness. As the Scripture says, “Through His wounds, you were healed.”

1 Peter 2:21, 23-24 Voice

One of the greatest evidences of whether we truly believe and live by the Gospel is how we build relationships with others. Good news is meant to be shared, and the Gospel was intended to inspire and compel us to become more selfless rather than selfish.  

[9] God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. [10] This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. [11] Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. [12] No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

1 John 4:9-12 NLT

Despite the suffering, accusations, abuse, threats, disappointment, and betrayal he experienced from the very people he was determined to save, Jesus allowed himself to be wounded so that our lives and relationships would be healed. This Good News is a relationship-building blueprint that God calls us to embrace to turn hurt relationships into healed ones—not just our own, but helping others renew hope in their relationships as well. 

How have you responded to the suffering, accusation, abuse, betrayal, or disappointment in your life? God knows these pains personally and knows the only way for us to be healed from them is through Jesus’s sacrifice. On the cross, Jesus took away everything that stands between us and God, bringing us close to God so he could heal our hearts and restore our hope. 

It’s important to ask ourselves:  Are we becoming more loving, forgiving, initiating, or serving to bring out the best in others, regardless of how reciprocative others are? This is what God does for us. Jesus initiated and gave his life regardless of our response, in hopes that we’d change live for him rather than ourselves. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to help a friend come to understand this good news of how Jesus sacrificed to enable us to live with freedom from sin and guilt, so we could extend this freedom from God to others. Once my friend embraced this, he was deeply inspired and decided to become a Christian. I’ve been amazed at how he has changed his friendships as a result. When I first met him, he preferred to be alone and avoided any social events. Now, his gratitude for Jesus’ love has turned him into someone who is so initiating, transparent, and eager to build friendships with anyone, even those totally different from him. 

Seeing the change in his life reminded me that when we find forgiveness and love because of the cross, we also find the freedom to extend it to others. God made it possible for our relationships to be healed of bitterness, resentment, and selfishness by doing it first with us—which is truly good news!

The Good News makes hostile minds hopeful

And although you were at one time estranged and alienated and hostile-minded [toward Him], participating in evil things, yet Christ has now reconciled you [to God] in His physical body through death, in order to present you before the Father holy and blameless and beyond reproach— [and He will do this] if you continue in the faith, well-grounded and steadfast, and not shifting away from the [confident] hope [that is a result] of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which [gospel] I, Paul, was made a minister.

Colossians 1:21-23 AMP

Hostility is conflict, opposition, and unfriendly feelings. It’s easy to point out hostility in the world around us, like in the comments section of most social media posts and the sharply divided political climate in the U.S. But this passage tells us that hostility isn’t always outward; it can exist in our minds—where evil thoughts, dark thinking, and deliberate selfish choices alienate us from God and others. You can have a hostile mind even if you pride yourself on never making a nasty comment online.

Have you been hostile-minded toward anyone lately? Your spouse, your co-workers, your roommate, your family members, or toward God? Have you felt in conflict with God in any areas, wanting to do things that you know he doesn’t want you to do?

The Good News is that despite any hostility we might have towards God, he is determined to be merciful in exchanging Jesus’ life for ours. This inspires confident hope in us—that God went to great lengths for us in the times we least deserved it.

God can change our minds from hostile to hopeful. He can help us look to the future and see his good, pleasing, and perfect plans for our lives:

So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.

Romans 12:1-2 GNT

One practical way we can let God change our minds from hostile to hopeful is reading the Bible and applying it to our lives daily. The Good News is part of the spiritual armor God gives us to stand against the forces of evil each day.

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.

Ephesians 6:15 NLT

The Good News brings us peace, and prepares us for whatever comes. It protects us from fear and conflict, keeping us calm and diffusing hostility toward God. As shoes, it helps us walk farther on the path God has for us than we ever could go on our own.

Pause and reflect

  • In what ways have you been hostile-minded towards God? What about towards people? Why?
  • How well do you arm yourself with the peace of the Good News each day? How much effort do you put into reading and remembering verses of the Bible that relieve your fears and resolve your internal conflicts about God’s care of your life?

The Good News changes the world

Your faith and love continue because you know what is waiting for you in heaven—the hope you have had since you first heard the true message, the Good News [6] that was told to you. Throughout the world, this Good News is bringing blessings and is spreading. And that’s what has been happening among you since the first time you heard it and understood the truth about God’s grace.

Colossians 1:5-6 ERV

When we experience the hope and healing of the Good News, we won’t be able to contain it. The Good News will spread and bring blessings to anyone it touches. This is how God changes the world and brings healing to the brokenness so many people experience.

This is God’s purpose in the Good News– that despite the darkness, discouragement, and distress so many encounter in the world today, there is always hope. We help others experience the freedom, hope, and life-changing friendships God makes possible because of the Gospel. 

The world is changed and hearts are freed when each of us decide to share and illustrate this Good News through our lives and practice forgiveness in relationships. 

Pause and reflect

We can begin this today, starting with three key spiritual conversations with friends:

  • Which “gospel” does my life reflect most? (avoidance, feelings, success, attention, or the real Gospel?)
  • Who does God want me to share his message with to inspire hope and healing?
  • What relationships would heal if I chose to live by God’s standard of relationships in Scripture over mine?

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What is the Good News? 8

Ray Kim is a Southern California native who made the Bay Area his home after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. He is passionate about community service, and is spearheading such efforts as the E-Hoops program at the University of San Francisco.

What is the Good News? 8

Ray Kim is a Southern California native who made the Bay Area his home after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. He is passionate about community service, and is spearheading such efforts as the E-Hoops program at the University of San Francisco.

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