After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:14-15
Society’s wisdom tells us that good news comes in the form of affirmations, in praise from others about our achievements. Good news has to do with catching a break, not needing to go the extra mile or the proverbial free lunch. Good news is…well…good. It doesn’t require from us, it gives back to us. It doesn’t challenge, it soothes. Good news is always what we want when we want it. If it’s inconvenient or difficult, it’s not really “good” is it?
That’s what the world says. And it’s what we like to think.
So when Jesus comes on the scene and he’s calling for repentance, how can he couple that with the words good news? How could our need for repenting ever be consider good? How could it be good news to admit we are to blame after all?
Shouldn’t Jesus just call it what it is? Shouldn’t he just be up front and say, “Hey this stinks, and it’s going to hurt; there’s nothing good about it, but you need to admit how wrong and broken you are.”
If we read the Bible through the lens of our own life—and through the lens of worldly wisdom—then yes, this thought process makes sense. But when we learn to look at what Jesus is saying through the lens of the whole of Scripture, and when we really begin to grab a hold of what Jesus is calling us to and what Jesus is after, then we begin to see that the call to repentance is actually the best news.
When Jesus calls us to repent what he is saying is that change is actually possible. He’s telling us that the good news—the gospel—is that his coming means we can experience real, dynamic, personal change. We’re no longer hopeless. We no longer have to settle for just being stuck in our own self-destructive cycles. We no longer have to simply succumb to the weaknesses of our own flesh and the delusions of our own sinfulness.
We can change. We can be different. We can start over and be new.
The King is here and change is possible.
Freedom is available. Victory is ours. In Christ we are overcomers.
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:5
The mystery of it all, of course, is that the victory comes at the surrendering. The overcoming happens when we bow in worship. It’s through submission and a giving up of self-reliance that we discover the change our souls have longed for all the days of our life. It’s through humility, and even humiliation, that we find value and identity.
Repent. Confess that your problem is within you, not because of your circumstances. Turn from your sin and admit your need for a savior. Why? Because the King is here and change is possible.
Yes, that is indeed good news.