When I was growing up, I had a narrow understanding of the term which consisted of the story of Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. It also included the process of claiming the assurance of salvation. While I do not discount those things, I’ve come to realize there was more to Jesus’ good news.
The good news is that God is not the vengeful, warlike entity that we might understand from earlier writings, but rather more like the doting, overindulgent father of the tale of “The Prodigal Son.” Or he’s the shepherd who loses all perspective and leaves everything to find the one lost sheep.
The good news is that God is the Great Physician who looks at sinfulness and sees it as sickness which he can cure. He repairs, restores, and revives us rather than rejecting us if we don’t measure up.
The good news is that the kingdom of God has different values than other kingdoms. In God’s kingdom the first are last and the last are first, the poor are more important than the rich, the weak are honored over the strong, and the children get more attention than the adults. Furthermore, though it may honor the weak, the kingdom of God is stronger than any earthly kingdom. It continues to advance, cannot be destroyed, and will last forever.
The story of the cross is about atonement, but it is also about triumph where evil is overcome with good, darkness is overcome by light, and death is defeated by life.
As we celebrate Holy Week, let’s remember the full blessing of the Good News.