The Messenger of Good News in Isaiah [00:00-01:22]
Jon: There’s this beautiful poem it’s in the book of Isaiah1.
Tim: The city of Jerusalem has just been destroyed by Babylon, a great kingdom in the North2. And all these Jewish people, they’ve been sent away into exile3. But a few remained in the city4, and they’re left wondering what happened? Has our God abandoned us?
Jon: Right because Jerusalem was supposed to be the city where God would reign over the world to bring peace and blessing to everyone 5.
Tim: Now Isaiah had been saying that Jerusalem’s destruction was a mess of Israel’s own making. They had turned away from their God, become corrupt, and so their city and their temple were destroyed 6.
Jon: Yeah. Everything seems lost.
Tim: But the poem goes on. There is a watchman on the city walls. And far out on the hills we see a messenger, and he’s running towards the city. He’s running and he’s shouting, “Good news!” And Isaiah says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news”7.
Jon: Beautiful feet?
Tim: Yes! The feet are beautiful because they’re carrying a beautiful message.
Jon: What’s the message?
Tim: That despite Jerusalem’s destruction, Israel’s God still reigns as king8, and that God himself is going to one day return to this city, take up his throne, and bring peace9.
Jon: And the watchmen sing for joy because of the good news that their God still reigns10.
New Testament: Good News of a New King [01:23-03:20]
Tim: Now, in the New Testament, we find this same phrase “the good news.” 11 It is the Greek word euangelion, and it’s also sometimes translated with the word “gospel.” 12
Jon: So when Christians say, “Do you believe the Gospel?”, they mean, “Do you believe the news?”
Tim: But not just any news. In the Bible, this phrase is always about the announcement of the reign of a new king13. And in the New Testament, the Gospels use that phrase to summarize all of Jesus’ teachings. They say he went about “proclaiming the good news of God’s Kingdom.” 14
Jon: So Jesus saw himself as the messenger bringing the news that God reigns 15.
Tim: Yes, but the way that he described God’s reign, it surprised everybody. I mean, think. A powerful, successful kingdom, it needs to be strong, able to impose its will, able to defeat its enemies. But Jesus said the greatest person in God’s Kingdom was the weakest, the one who loves and who serves the poor 16.And he said you live under God’s reign when you respond to evil by loving your enemies, and forgiving them, and seeking peace 17. This is an upside-down Kingdom.
Jon: Now, Jesus also said that this Kingdom was arriving with him 18.
Tim: Yeah. So for example, there’s a really interesting story where there is a high ranking Roman officer, and he comes to Jesus begging him to heal his servant. And he even calls Jesus his “Lord,” acknowledging that Jesus is his authority19. Jesus praises this man for recognizing what no one else yet had: that not only was Jesus announcing God’s Kingdom, he was the king20.
Jon: And so the word gets out that this Jewish man from Galilee is talking and acting like he’s king of Israel 21: He’s appointing twelve disciples, which are an image of Israel’s twelve tribes, he’s healing people, forgiving people their sins 22.
Tim: And all of this so threatened Israel’s leaders that they finally decide to have him killed, and Jesus let them 23.
A Different Kind of King and Kingdom [03:21-04:45]
Jon: Yeah, which is a weird thing to do if you’re trying to become king.
Tim: That’s right, but for Jesus, this is what had to happen. Jesus saw the sin and devastation of his people Israel as just one small part of the entire human condition, how all humanity has rebelled against God, resulting in the tragedy and devastation of our whole world 24. So how is God going to bring his reign over such a world? Jesus believed it would be through an act of sacrificial love for his enemies 25.
This is why in the Gospels, Jesus’ crucifixion is depicted as his enthronement as the King of the Jews 26.
Jon: Yeah. He receives a crown; he also receives a robe.
Tim: He’s exalted up, not onto a throne but onto the cross 27.
Jon: How beautiful are the feet that bring good news28.
Tim: And the good news now is that Jesus has defeated death and that he reigns as King, that he has dealt with our sin and corruption himself, and that he’s conquered it with his life and with his love 29.
Jon: And then Jesus sent his followers to go out and keep announcing the good news of this upside-down Kingdom 30,
Tim: And to invite everyone to give their allegiance to him, the King who defeated death with his love 31.