Good News Is About Life and Love, Not Death and Dying, Pt. 2

Good News Is About Life and Love, Not Death and Dying, Pt. 2 March 27, 2024


This leads me to what I believe was the original good news of the gospel for the early Jesus movement. The good news of the gospel was not that Jesus was crucified or had died for anyone, but that Jesus was alive! The cross had been reversed, overcome, and undone! And the news about that could not be contained!


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(Read this series from its beginning here.)


Consider these passages that emphasize the preaching of the church in the books of Acts. Notice they aren’t merely preaching Jesus crucified. They are announcing Jesus has been resurrected!

With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33)

You crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. (Acts 2:22-24)

This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. (Acts 2:32-33)

You handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, but God raised from the dead. (Acts 3:12-16)

. . . Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead. (Acts 4:10-11)

The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. (Acts 5:30-32)

They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day. (Acts 10:36-43)

Even though they found no cause for a sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him killed. When they had carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead . . . And we bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus. (Emphasis added) (Acts 13:35-38)

The good news for those in the book of Acts was not that Jesus had died, but that Jesus, whom the state had executed, had been brought back to life!

Whatever we make of these reports today, the lessons in these stories’ emphasis are not from Jesus’ dying but in the undoing of his death. The story is one about the ability of truth to overcome falsehood, of life to triumph over the death-dealing agents of our world, for love to conquer hate. Injustice doesn’t have to have the last word in our stories.

There are a couple more voices we need to hear on this last point. We’ll look at those next.

(Read Part 3)


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About Herb Montgomery
Herb Montgomery, director of Renewed Heart Ministries, is an author and adult religious re-educator helping Christians explore the intersection of their faith with love, compassion, action, and societal justice. You can read more about the author here.

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