15 December 2017

VERY GOOD NEWS

During a recent conversation with a former work colleague I was asked a very unexpected question. He had taken early retirement from the business to follow his dream of becoming a life coach. He is brilliant at what he does, having devoted many years to study, and has had great success with both business clients and private individuals alike, making a real difference in the lives of others, which was his goal. Interestingly, for such an apparently confident person, his question to me was, “What do my former friends and customers think of what I am doing?”

Many of us, if we are honest, wonder what others think of us, and sometimes wish we could be a fly on the wall to find out. This is not paranoia, but simply a desire to know if we are as well thought of as we hope we might be. We all want to look good in the eyes of others; it’s human nature, and while most of us claim that, ‘we do not care what others think’, the reality is, we do! A certain level of self awareness is healthy but it must never dominate our thinking.

In answering the question of my friend, it reminded me of a similar question that Jesus asked his disciples. It is recorded for us in one of the accounts of the life of Jesus written in the Bible, called the Gospel of Mark. In chapter 8 we read the following words;

“Who do people say that I am?”

Unlike us, Jesus was not interested in what men thought about Him, in terms of self-confidence or self-awareness, because Jesus was totally aware of who He was as the Son of God, and what He had come to do. He knew that God was pleased with Him and therefore He did not need the approval of those around Him. Instead, His question was about their understanding of His purpose and mission in the world.

When my friend asked me his question, it was very easy to answer, because he asked me what others thought about him and not what I thought, thereby keeping it impersonal and only hearsay, which was easy for him to dismiss if he didn’t like it. It was the same for Jesus’ disciples; they simply reported what they had heard others say, but then Jesus asks a much harder and more telling question, “Who do you say that I am?”

This is probably the biggest question of life, the universe and everything. Forget, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or even, who am I, or where did I come from? The answer we give to this question, as to what we believe about Jesus, will not only transform this life, but also determine where we spend the next.

Peter, one of the Jesus disciples, answered it correctly by saying, “You are the Messiah,” because that is who Jesus was and still is, God’s appointed Saviour. Jesus came to bring us the gospel, which means good news. This good news is that we can have a second chance, a fresh start, as if we were being born anew to life. All our wrong doings, which the Bible calls sin, can be erased and we can have a clean sheet. How can this be? God has decided that He will accept the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross as payment for our guilt. He is the judge in the courtroom of our life, and even though we have been found guilty and deserving of punishment, God lets us go free, because of what Jesus has done for us. All we have to do is surrender to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness. I think you will agree this is very good news indeed.

Rejoice Always team