Luke 4:38-44 (CEV)
38 Jesus left the meeting place and went to Simon’s home. When Jesus got there, he was told that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a high fever. 39 So Jesus went over to her and ordered the fever to go away. Right then she was able to get up and serve them a meal.
40 After the sun had set, people with all kinds of diseases were brought to Jesus. He put his hands on each one of them and healed them. 41 Demons went out of many people and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus ordered the demons not to speak because they knew he was the Messiah.
42 The next morning Jesus went out to a place where he could be alone, and crowds came looking for him. When they found him, they tried to stop him from leaving. 43 But Jesus said, “People in other towns must hear the good news about God’s kingdom. That’s why I was sent.” 44 So he kept on preaching in the Jewish meeting places in Judea.
Sharing The Good News
My nephew, Caleb, is two. He is a sweet, adorable, charming boy, but he is two. Which means that the things he likes – the good things in his world – are (and I can’t put too strong a point on this) HIS. Juice, for example, is an enormous treat at his house, and one that makes him very, very happy, so you’ll understand that when auntie unwittingly served one of my kids some juice in his juice cup, his lips pulled down in a quiver as he cried out, “Ca-eb’s cup!!! Ca-eb’s cup!!!” Because to a two year old, once it’s gone into the hands of his cousin, someone else has the good thing, and, worse yet, it’s likely that the good things that cup gave him would never come back!
Toddlers have this perspective on life, and it’s challenging, but developmentally normal, as any parent will tell you. The rule in their head is something like: “this thing is good, if the good thing goes to someone else, they’ll have the good thing and I won’t have the good thing, and I probably won’t ever have the good thing again, and that would be the end of the world.” Fair enough … if you’re two.
Unfortunately, even though we like to think of ourselves as much more mature than a small child, we adults don’t always manage it, do we? The people in Capernaum are kind of like that. They’ve just had this incredible man show up and start healing people and casting out demons from people and speaking in ways that make all the little disconnected, disjointed pieces start to line up, and this is good news!! So can you blame them if they want to hold onto him? Can you blame them if they’re worried that someone else will “use him up” or “not appreciate him properly” or “never give him back” or “break him”? If someone came to Barrie and started talking like this, and healing people like this, we’d probably want to hold onto them, too!
But Jesus says, “People in other towns must hear the good news about God’s kingdom. That’s why I was sent.”
And so, like Caleb is slowly learning from his amazing parents, Luke gives us the lowdown up front that this good news about God’s kingdom that the book of Luke is going to tell us about isn’t just for us – it’s meant to be shared. And I don’t think it’s a mistake that Luke puts this right at the beginning. Luke knows that this is going to be one of our struggles with the good news about God’s kingdom. He knows that people are going to want to say “it’s just for me” or “it’s just for us”, and then work very hard to make sure that the lines are clear and high and closed in as to who is in and who is out. But Luke knows the end of the story. He knows that although it is for us and those who are close to us, this good news is also
- for those a long way from us;
- for those who are similar to us;
- for those who are different from us;
- for those we like;
- for those we don’t like;
- for those who conform to our way of living;
- and even for those who blatantly disregard all the rules.
We’re going to meet all of these people in the pages of Luke, because these are the people Jesus leaves to go tell the good news to. And we’re going to meet all of these people in our world today, because these are the people Jesus leaves us to continue telling the good news to:
- The good news that God’s love is so big for us that it reaches down into the dust of our broken world and breathes hope and healing and peace and transformation and love into our broken, tangled lives.
- The good news that God’s love is so big that it’s for all of us, not just the ones who can get their act together first, or pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
- The good news that God’s love is so big that nothing we can do can get in the way of it still being there for us.
That’s a lot of good news. We might be tempted to think that if it’s for someone else it can’t also be for us, too, because otherwise it will run out. But Luke assures us that this good news is big enough for us to share!
- How has Jesus been good news to you?
- What has changed, been transformed, healed, mended, become more peaceful, less fearful or more love-inspired in your life since you met Jesus?
- Have you ever told anyone about your experiences of Jesus – this good news?
- If you were ever to tell someone about the good news would there be anyone you might think shouldn’t hear about it? Why or why not?
- What does it mean for you if this good news is big enough to be shared with everyone?