All my life, I have been told that the word Gospel translates “good news”, when a lot of what I was taught afterwards was anything but good news. I am having my world rocked nowadays and I am honestly loving it. I am blissfully and truly seeing the Gospel as scandalously, amazingly too good but true, news. I feel a very different but remarkable sense of freedom as I now read the Bible through this new lens of God truly being good. Even the tough parts, I am able to see differently and what I don’t understand, I ask Abba to help me with that, and I believe He will.
I am reading one of my required books for seminary called Cosmos Reborn by John Crowder. It is amazing. I had to stop reading it to write this post because I am so excited about what I am learning. Bare with me as I share my excitement and tell you things you may already know. I have actually gone back and forth, tempering my feelings about my theological journey as I am now seeing things in ways that are at times in opposition with the beliefs of my loved ones. It is important to me to keep connections strong, but as an old song that comes to mind implies, I can’t keep it all to myself! 🙂
One thing among so much that I see differently, is the idea that God turned His back on Jesus while he was on the cross because of what Jesus said in Matthew 27:46 (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”) I was taught that it was at this point that God, who cannot even look upon sin, turned His back on His son Jesus who became sin for us. A side note from this idea- if we are so awful and filled with sin, such that God can’t look at us, how is it that we come to Him at all? How would we be able to even face Him enough to accept Jesus’ sacrifice if He couldn’t look upon us? How could we even survive without His constant gaze upon us? So many thoughts and questions come to mind… Ok, back to the topic at hand.
Not only do I now believe that Jesus, in that moment was identifying with what we feel and experience when we sin, (I mean really, who sins and wants to run straight to God without feeling crazy?) but it was so much more than just his identifying with us in that moment. Jesus, in that moment was making a big statement, a statement that every Messianic person watching him hang on the cross understood clearly in that moment.
It is my understanding that during that time, they often sang the Psalms of David in synagogue. Not too many years back, I heard and was surprised to learn that King David is counted among the prophets of the Old Testament. I totally see why, now.
If anyone was to recite the start of the lyrics of a popular song, you’d likely pick up on it and end up singing it too. That happens often. That’s what Jesus did. He recited the start of a Psalm they all likely knew, and it very likely blew some minds as he did, because the Psalm was about him and described very accurately (and probably eerily) what he was experiencing right there in that moment, on the cross.
Read Psalm 22 here. I can only imagine how floored they were in that moment of realization. The song mentioned his thirst, his dislocated bones, his blood poured out, how he didn’t even look like a man anymore. It mentioned the mocking, the gambling of his clothes and then, in verse 24, it says the Father did not look away, but was there all the time! Wow!!! Can you imagine? It reminds me of how Jesus went to synagogue, stood before them and quoted Isaiah 61:1 and then said, “This Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing today.” Boom!!! (Mic drop) He was essentially and effectively doing that again, on the cross!!! Amazing!
It was always said that the Gospel was offensive. I see this from a different perspective now too. It is most certainly offensive, but not quite in the way that I first thought of it. Think about it, who in the Bible seemed to stay mad and offended at Jesus? The religious folk. It was the Pharisee’s who were often angered because Jesus chose to hang out with tax collectors and prostitutes. Forgive my silliness, but the reality is, them hoes loved Jesus. They loved him so much, and he them, that they didn’t want to whore no more. It was the ones who looked down on others that were offended. The very ones who just knew they were right and everyone else was wrong and should follow them. They felt Jesus should act like and hang with them. He should have been the first to sock that prostitute in the head with a rock when she was caught in the act of adultery. How dare Jesus let her go? They were the ones who were mad, offended and wanted to kill him. The Good News irked their religious nerves. Jesus was there for them too but they didn’t believe it. They were too entrenched in law to see Love.
This all just blows my mind and screams, “Good News”! I love it!!! The Gospel is changing me in the very best way. I look forward to seeing my Abba more and more clearly and correctly. Jesus embodied the Father. He is good. That, my friends, is the Gospel.