Thursday, April 21, 2011

News You Should Use

Jesus isn't here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, “The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life."

-- Luke 24:6-7

If it bleeds, it leads.

That’s the old saying in the news business. Turn on the TV, read a newspaper or visit a news website and you’re bound to come across story after story about financial hardship, “skyrocketing” unemployment and degenerate human behavior. The fact is that the media thrives on bad news and hyping the worst possible scenarios. After all, good news rarely drives ratings or sells magazines.

A steady stream of good news also doesn’t paint an unrealistically gloomy picture of our circumstances. For instance, bad economic news can lead to self-fulfilling prophesies when the public becomes too scared to buy a much-needed automobile or even a new pair of shoes. True, too many people really ARE struggling these days with difficult life challenges. But unemployment, crime, sickness and death have been part of the human experience for centuries -- even in the best of times. There’s nothing new there.

OK. Enough with the depressing headlines. How about some good news for a change?

As Christ-followers, our Good News (the Gospel) is that Jesus paid the price for our sins (past, present and future) when He died on the cross in our place. Then, just as predicted in the Old Testament, God resurrected Him to life to forever defeat the power of sin and death in our lives. It’s this same power that will one day raise all believers to eternal life and joy with our Creator. And it’s what Easter is all about.

“Death has lost the battle!” wrote the Apostle Paul. “Where is its victory? Where is its sting?”

Does this Good News sound a bit too good to be true? If so, you’re not alone. Even some of Jesus’ disciples refused to believe when they first heard that He was alive. Let’s consider this encouraging passage from the Gospel of John, which reports the skepticism – and later amazement – of Thomas (the one forever known as “Doubting Thomas”):
Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn't with the others when Jesus appeared to them. So they told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But Thomas said, "First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won't believe unless I do this!"
A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples and said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!"
Thomas replied, "You are my Lord and my God!"
Jesus said, "Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!"

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