We’ve all seen that guy—the one in the gym who has arms like Popeye and legs like Gumby. A hyper-focus on his « guns » has left his legs looking more like twigs than tree trunks. No doubt he’s strong, but being overdeveloped in one area has left him underdeveloped in others. If we aren’t careful, we can be underdeveloped ministers of the gospel.
Perhaps you’re skilled at describing and applying the good news of Jesus’s death and resurrection. I’m glad. But if your knowledge of the gospel begins and ends there, you’re in danger of being a ministerial Popeye. The good news of Jesus includes more than his death and resurrection. In fact, many of the trials and hardships you will enter into as you care for God’s people will require you to understand not only his death and resurrection but also his life, ascension, intercession, and return.
Since the gospel is literally the “good news of Jesus,” we must look at his life and ministry through a wide lens. If we’re going to be effective ministers of the gospel, we must be equipped and skilled at unpacking all the treasures of his grace and mercy. I want to offer six gospel-centered questions to consider as you seek to minister the fullness of the good news of Jesus. Many of the trials and hardships you will enter into as you care for God’s people will require you to understand not only his death and resurrection but also his life, ascension, intercession, and return. Click To Tweet
How is the life of Jesus good news?
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In the life of Jesus, we see the image of the invisible God. In the life of Jesus, we see the perfect obedience that counts for us. We see the light of God breaking through the darkness and a glimpse of the kingdom that will reign for all eternity—a kingdom free from death, disease, tyranny, terror, fears, and failures.
How is the death of Jesus good news?
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:24–25). The cross of Christ is a continual reminder that God’s ability to save infinitely outpaces our ability to sin. No matter how far we’ve strayed, God’s forgiveness manifested in the cross is sufficient for us.
How is the resurrection of Jesus good news?
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Because of the resurrection, sin and suffering no longer define or determine the course of our life. Paul then tells us not to let sin reign in our bodies. Being united to Jesus in his resurrection means we now have the Spirit-empowered ability to present our members to God instead of sin. We are free.
How is the ascension of Jesus good news?
“. . . I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). Jesus’s ascension was the spark that lit the flame of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this world. The Spirit now works to convict the world of sin, bear witness to Jesus, help us understand God, empower us for faithfulness to God, and equip us for service to God. Not only that, but the Spirit is an ever-present reminder of the inheritance that awaits us with God.
How is the intercession of Jesus good news?
“. . . He holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:24–25). What a thought—Jesus always lives to make intercession for us. Because of Jesus, our sin no longer condemns us before the Father. Even more, the accusations of Satan against us now fall on deaf ears. Jesus stands before the Father on our behalf, compassionately representing and praying for us.
How is the return of Jesus good news?
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13). We are naturally hopeful people. We hope that 5:00 p.m. on Friday will bring us peace. We hope that a week at the beach will bring us rest. But our peace and our rest are ultimately found in a Person. The return of Jesus is good news because our very life is coming for us (Col. 3:3–4). Think deeply about Christ. Not only will you lead your own heart into worship, but you will grow in your ability to minister to the hearts of others as well. Click To Tweet
Each of these questions could be answered at book-length. I’ve merely scraped the surface of drawing out the implications of the all-encompassing good news of Jesus. Let me encourage you to take these questions and expand on my observations. Think deeply about Christ. Not only will you lead your own heart into worship, but you will grow in your ability to minister to the hearts of others as well.