By Josh Luse
Did you need Jesus today?
You’re probably saying, “Of course!”, but how did you lean on him? Where did you see him at work? How did he shape your thoughts and flow through the things you did?
I don’t know what you think of when you hear the word “gospel.” Some may think of a certain type of music. Some may think of preaching. Still others may think of the time they heard the message that Jesus died for their sins, and they trusted him as their savior. The reality of the word gospel is that God himself has come to rescue and renew all creation through the work of Jesus. We see that all of scripture is one story pointing us to what Jesus has done to bring us back into relationship with him.
At times, I’ve thought of the gospel as only relevant back at that time in my life when I realized my sin and need of a savior and put my trust in Jesus. And while it was very relevant at that time, I’ve come to realize it’s no less relevant now. Tim Keller said it this way, “the gospel is not a first step in a stairway of truths; rather it’s more like the hub in a wheel of truth.” In other words, it’s not that I use the gospel to get to heaven someday, but the gospel is central to my everyday life now.
Here’s another way of putting it . . .
The gospel has saved me from the penalty of sin (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The gospel is saving me from the power of sin (Colossians 1:27-29; 2:6).
The gospel will save me from the presence of sin (Revelation 21:4).
The gospel didn’t happen; it is happening.–Kalinowski
And that’s some good news! This amazing, loving, merciful, just God came to rescue us so we could live with him. Not just someday in eternity, but right now. Right in the midst of the everyday things you face.
I need Jesus just as much today as I did the first day I met him.
It’s a wake-up call of my need for him this year.
Remember the words from that beautiful poem in Isaiah 52?
Wake up, wake up, O Zion!
Clothe yourself with strength.
Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem,
for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer.
2 Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem.
Sit in a place of honor.
Remove the chains of slavery from your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion. . . .
The city of Jerusalem has been destroyed and lies in ruin. It has been demolished by Babylon (one of the larger kingdoms from the North) because the people were blatantly rebelling against God. Most of the Jews had been taken into exile and carted away, but a few still remained in Jerusalem. As the smoke is still rising and the dust is settling, how could Isaiah write words like this?
But God is still at work in the midst of this.
The people had turned from God and received a wake-up call, but God did not abandon them.
While they sit there in the reality of a broken situation in a broken world, a watchman on the city walls sees a messenger running toward them yelling out, “Good News! Good News!”
He might as well have been yelling, “Gospel, Gospel!” Verse seven goes on to speak of that good news…
7 How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,
the good news of peace and salvation,
the news that the God of Israel reigns!
8 The watchmen shout and sing with joy,
for before their very eyes
they see the Lord returning to Jerusalem.
9 Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song,
for the Lord has comforted his people.
He has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has demonstrated his holy power
before the eyes of all the nations.
All the ends of the earth will see
the victory of our God.
God is still in control. He is still working out his plan. He is at work in the unseen. He will one day return to this city to rule as king, although his kingdom will look different than they expect. Good news for sure. But it’s not a call to simply wait. It’s a call to recognize where he is at work now and continue to join in with him. It’s an opportunity for him to continue his work both in and through us. The gospel is allowing him to reign as king in every area of my life right now–changing and transforming my heart, attitudes, thoughts, words and relationships. The list goes on and on.
It’s the reminder that I need Jesus today just as much as I ever have. And the beautiful thing is, he is there right beside me, inviting me to live my day, my week, and my year with him.