God on Monday
‘Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people’ (Matthew 4.23).
The Bible is not, in the first instance, a moral code or a manual of ethics. Church teaching, including sermons, often fails to reflect this. The tendency is to focus on what people should do and how they should live. The subliminal message this carries is that we need to try harder to live in accordance with biblically grounded principles.
There is nothing inherently wrong with such exhortations. But the Bible is essentially the story and message of salvation – it is primarily about good news rather than good advice.
Even those parts of the Bible that are about right attitudes and behaviours only make sense when seen within the context of a relationship between a triune God and humans made in God’s image. Within that relationship, the giving and receiving of love inspires and enables humans to live lives that express shalom, build community and please God.
As this happens, the kingdom of God breaks into a broken and hurting world. We see early signs of this ‘breaking in’ in Jesus’ ministry – a ministry that is beautifully and concisely summarized in the verse above. In the three chapters that follow, St Matthew will demonstrate in the Sermon on the Mount the sheer calibre of Jesus’ moral teaching. But here he shows that Jesus taught in synagogues and proclaimed and demonstrated the good news.
Jesus came not to inaugurate a new era of wise principles but a new era of God’s grace. He is not in the first instance a sage but a saviour.
Christians are often known, especially in workplace contexts, for their high moral principles. They are frequently judged by those principles (often justifiably) as hypocrites. But what if Christians were known for promoting not only good ethics but good news?
Take a moment to think about how you will live out the good news through your actions and words this week.
Jesus, redeemer of the world, in you the kingdom of the earth is becoming the kingdom of God. Thank you that one day your kingdom will come in all its fulness. Until then, help us in our daily lives to live and speak like people who have been told some very good news.
When you provide, or listen to, Christian teaching, ask yourself, ‘where is the good news in this?’
This Week's Author
, Director, Faith in Business
God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment.
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