After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.
A painkiller. That’s what 19th Century philosopher Karl Marx called religion. He saw Christianity as a cop-out. A way for people to avoid the hardships of current reality by doping up on the promises of religion.
You might think that’s what Jesus offers when you see how he responded after King Herod imprisoned Jesus’ cousin, John. John had spoken out against the king’s illegitimate marriage. John’s followers must have been distraught. And what did Jesus do? He went around proclaiming the good news. It seems a little harsh or insensitive, at least.
Jesus didn’t need sensitivity training. He just knew the bigger picture. John’s job was to point the world to Jesus. Jesus’ job was to save the world from sin, death, and hell. John must decrease so that Jesus could increase. Jesus wasn’t a fool; he knew what would happen to him. He knew he must endure cruelty and crucifixion. He endured it anyway because he knew he would triumph. He would rise from the dead and be the source of eternal life for all who trust in him.
This Good News of Jesus is not an opiate from the reality of the world’s bad news. It is our optimistic reality despite the bad news of the world. While hardship will always be part of this life, Jesus gives us the freedom to respond to those hardships in a positive way. Because he lived and died for us and now lives again, we are free to be the victor rather than play the victim. Forgiveness is ours! God’s love is ours! Eternal life is ours! Victory is ours!
Come what may—distress, or deprivation, or danger, or death—you are more than victorious through Jesus who loved you and gave himself for you.
That’s Good News!
Heavenly Father, how optimistic your love for me is. I can face any danger or disaster victoriously! Amen.