Gracious Lord, Your mercy, love, and power, are from everlasting to everlasting the same. Speak to me now, I pray.
Read Isaiah 52:7-12
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Sharing good news is a life-style patterned after God. It is a life of making friends for God, as God has made us his friends through his Son” (Leighton Ford).
Good news is to be celebrated. In the Old Testament it often centers on God’s victory and the establishment of his rule. The announcement that God reigns brings in the new era of peace and justice. The Hebrew word for “good news” (tidings) in v. 7 is translated in the Greek version of the Old Testament with a form of a word we know well from the New Testament, evangelizo, meaning to bring good news, to preach the gospel. It has not appeared in our section of Acts but will be used 15 times in later chapters and 21 times in Paul’s letters. The Old Testament background to the gospel is to be found in passages like this; it is about peace, salvation and the reign of God. For Isaiah and his first hearers, this was experienced in the return from exile in Babylon, but that event, crucial in the life of Israel though it was, does not do justice to the language here. Something larger, with cosmic dimensions, is in view. These verses await the coming of Jesus.
In him salvation comes not just to Israel but to all. The good news is experienced as an invitation to end our exile in sin and return to God. Jesus’ stories of a lost coin, a lost sheep and a lost son make the point forcibly in the face of the closed minds of the Pharisees and their exclusion of others from the reign of God.
Good news is to be shared as we have seen so frequently in the early chapters of Acts. Telling others is not merely a matter of proclaiming truth or telling the story. It is calling them to a shared experience marked by joy, inviting them to join the celebration.
Pray that today someone will cross your path and indicate a need that you know only Christ can fill. Ask for wisdom to seize that opportunity for faith-sharing.
Loving Lord, You have satisfied the deep longings of my heart. Give me a heart of concern for those who have not yet embraced Your great love.