[Jesus said] “God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, ‘This is God’s year to act!’”
(Luke 4:18-19, The Message)
God the Father sent his one and only Son Jesus to show us how much he loves us. Jesus not only proclaimed that good news (the gospel), he is the good news for all people, and you are included!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Only Jesus can teach us about God’s love because, as God’s eternal Son, he alone knows the Father in person and for all time (Matthew 11:27). By his words and actions, recorded for us in the Bible, Jesus teaches that God is our loving Father and we are his beloved children.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
(1 John 3:1)
Before he created the earth, our heavenly Father decided to create us to be his beloved children—to “adopt” us into his family, where we would live in perfect relationship with God and with each other.
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind… to be made whole and holy by his love.
Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ… He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
(Ephesians 1:3-6, The Message)
Although God’s plan all along has been to include and adopt us, we humans (beginning with the first created humans) rebelled against that plan, and all creation has suffered the effects of that sin ever since. Maintaining his intention to adopt us as his children, God the Father graciously sent his Son to live among us as one of us. Of one mind and heart with the Father, Jesus freely and gladly came to be joined with us forever.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
And being found in appearance as a man, [Jesus] humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
As our representative, on our behalf, Jesus lived a life of perfect love, faith and obedience so that all of us may be reconciled to God and rescued from sin, death and the power of evil. Jesus came to undo evil and its devastating effects, and ultimately make everything right.
Though we were created for deep and lasting relationship with God, none of us naturally trusts God and his love. To one degree or another, we all have chosen to disregard God and his good design for our lives.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
Rather than trusting God and receiving life from him, we have sought life, love, meaning and security on our own terms. The result is the world we now experience. Though there still are signs of God’s good creation all around us, more often than not things seem hopeless, lost, beyond repair.
But God did not give up on his original intention for his creation. He decided to intervene to rescue it—at his own expense and despite resistance from those he loves. God took personal responsibility for every wrong we have done and for the wrongs done against us, doing everything necessary to renew all of creation.
Despite the fact that we all have failed and sinned, God demonstrated his great love for us by sending his beloved Son Jesus to die on the cross at the hands of evil men. Jesus willingly and even joyfully gave his life in exchange for our broken and distorted lives.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Only Jesus’ life could overcome the death that has overtaken all humanity. Only Jesus, the eternal Son of God, could restore our broken relationship with God. But the price that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit paid to rescue us from ourselves, from sin and from death itself, was well worth it.
On our behalf, Jesus conquered death and overcame evil, rising from the dead to never die again. In him we have been restored to a right relationship with God. In him we will live forever.
After his astonishing resurrection, Jesus returned to his Father, promising that he would return to earth one day, bringing with him a new heaven and earth where all will be made right. In the meantime, he is preparing a place for us so that, restored to the heart of God, we may live forever in the house of our loving and gracious heavenly Father.
[Jesus said] “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
(John 14:2-3, ESV)
Jesus demonstrates that God is not an aloof and angry judge seeking to condemn us. Rather, God the Father freely and gladly gave his Son to be our Savior and Lord (John 3:16-17). After Jesus’ earthly work was done, he with the Father sent the Holy Spirit to put God’s love in our hearts, to transform us and guide us in the way that leads to abundant life.
Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
(Romans 5:5, ESV)
What should you do?
There is nothing you need to do to earn or deserve God’s gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), but like any gift, it is given to be received. How do you receive God’s gift? Note what Jesus said:
“The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
To repent means to change your mind—to stop relying on false hope, security and identity, and to rely on God, putting your hope in Jesus and his kingdom (reign) of peace, joy and harmony. To repent means to stop living in the darkness of sin and begin living in the light of God’s love and forgiveness. To believe is to entrust to Jesus all you are and own to follow his way of love, growing in your relationship with him.
[Jesus said] “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself.”
You may begin following Jesus and his way of love with a simple prayer like this:
Thank you, heavenly Father, for loving me. Thank you for making me your child. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to be my Savior and to take away all my guilt and shame. Thank you for the love and forgiveness you have shown to me in Jesus.
Thank you dear God for sending the Holy Spirit to live in my heart. Come Holy Spirit—guide me into all truth.Teach me to love God and others and strengthen me to follow the way of Jesus.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
In relating this way with God in prayer, you are now on a life-long journey with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—a journey that will transform your life one step at a time.
By the Holy Spirit, Jesus will lead you to join with others in following and worshiping God in accordance with his written word, the Bible. You are not alone.
That’s the good news—for you and everyone!
To learn more about God’s good news for you and all people, go to http://www.gci.org/gospel/everyone.
We’re here to help you on your journey with Jesus.
All scriptures, unless noted otherwise, are quoted from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.