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Found in Jesus

Jesus is good news, so let’s tell people about Him, says Glyn Jones

I was 28. I had a life and death decision to make, literally. This is how I found the good news we call Jesus Christ. As with most of us, in my life I had experienced a lot of news, both good and bad. However, this was different. I was in a valley of the deepest despair. I was not looking for Jesus; I was looking for hope.

Ironically, a kind and well-meaning Muslim gentleman inadvertently pointed me to Jesus in an attempt to dissuade me from exploring Christianity. Until that point, Jesus had not been on my agenda. Tell a child not to do something and what do they do? I went straight home and dug out a dusty Bible I had been given in primary school, and there I found the good news I had been looking for – hope in the promises of a carpenter from Nazareth.

Finding that good news, finding hope and finding Jesus saved my life, literally. However, as the months went on, I came to realise that throughout my life I had caused people dear to me, including God Himself, great pain and sadness. This became a weight in my own heart and quite naturally I experienced a cocktail of guilt and regret. And so, I sought another type of good news, forgiveness and release.

Through friends in church and reading the Bible I came to understand the good news offered through the death of Jesus on the cross – I experienced forgiveness and change. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). At other times in my life I have experienced great pain, both physically but also emotionally, and have sought yet another type of good news – healing and restoration. Once again, these I found in God through the prayers of brothers and sisters and the God-given skills of gifted people.

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When my life lacked focus and meaning I sought another good news, direction or purpose. These, too, I found in God, through the wisdom and the counsel of good friends and scripture. One day, I will face the ultimate black door of death and I will reach for a good news called eternal life. What I am trying to say is that at different times in our lives, good news looks different.

Why is Jesus the good news?

It may appear different at different times but essentially, all that good news is found in one person, Jesus. He is hope: The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16). He is forgiveness and new life, a central theme throughout all scripture finding its ultimate expression in the cross and resurrection. He is healing: physical, psychological, emotional and social healing all pepper the life and ministry of Jesus in the gospel accounts. 

He is purpose (Philippians 2:12 – 13), release from captivity (Luke 4:18), and many more expressions of good news: reconciliation, adoption, creation – the list goes on. In fact, I would like to suggest that the good news is not a thing at all – it is a person; it is the person of Jesus that we are all seeking. It’s just that most people don’t know it.

I was a typical example of the vast majority of people in this country who have no clue who Jesus really is. Furthermore, they don’t have any idea of what a true and growing relationship with Him offers. That, for me, is a scandal. It is a scandal because just like me, all these people at some point in their lives are seeking good news and for every single one of these people, Jesus has something marvellous to off er. Just like me, they may not know they are looking for Jesus, but they will know and recognise good news when they find Him. So, if we are all seeking the good news of Jesus but don’t know that, then it is our role as Christians to live and speak out about that Jesus-shaped good news so people can make the link themselves. How do we do that? I’d suggest that there are four ways in which God powerfully expresses Himself through us.

1. Everyday evangelism

There is a growing realisation in the church in Britain that with all the organised events and activities the church can deliver, the witness of the everyday Christian reaches the parts that no other can. This is everyday evangelism or a missional lifestyle. A chat at the bus stop, conversation in the doctor’s waiting room, small talk with the cashier, walking the dog or on a tea break at work. If you, like many of us, don’t know where to start, there are some great resources out there to get you thinking creatively. The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity is good at this and The Light Project thrives on it. My own book The peg and the pumice stone is all about how to develop this in your own life.

As a simple starter, I would encourage everyone to leave the house each day with a small object that they are prepared to give away should the occasion arrive: a wooden holding cross, a Bible verse, a prayer on a postcard. I wouldn’t worry about looking for opportunities, they will find you. The object will remind you of who you are and the good news that dwells in you. I assure you that sooner or later, the occasion will arise for you to share that with someone. When it does, then do it your way, in your own words. Share the hope that you have, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). But if you never have the reminder in your pocket, you will most probably forget, so be intentional.

2. Scripture

Most people have no idea what scripture says. While our pop songs, films and everyday expressions are all peppered with scriptural references to this powerful source of truth, most of us are blissfully unaware and have become biblically illiterate. We can bemoan it or hearken nostalgically for bygone days, or we can find fresh ways of bringing scripture back into the mainstream. If we believe that scripture is breathed by God, then let’s share it. Get a t-shirt, wear a wrist-band, buy some postcards, make a screen saver, paint a picture, give someone a Bible. Whatever your thing is, start to believe that scripture speaks powerfully to people and stands in God’s authority, not yours, so be confident in it – be bold.

3. Local church

Get involved in the mission or outreach of your local church. When I say mission, I mean the aspects of the church activity that relate to those outside the church. That may be welcoming newcomers, helping with the foodbank, bringing a friend to an Alpha course, or however your church engages with people who do not know God. Ultimately, we are called to make disciples and it takes a church to nurture a disciple, just as it takes a village to bring up a child. People experience the good news in church in a particular way, so taking part in that communal expression of good news is essential. Participate in the church; don’t just attend.

4. Work of the Spirit

The truth is that God doesn’t need any of us to do His work for Him. He is ultimately capable of expressing His good news without us. Through a sunset, a dream, odd circumstances, the Spirit of God can reveal His person and purposes with no one else present. However, there is something wonderful about the God we follow. He is a Father, a loving parent, and He loves to involve us in His business.

Time and time again the Spirit invites us into His work of revealing the good news Jesus to people who don’t yet know. Responding to that still small voice of God is a scary thing for me, but in stepping out as He prompts me, I have seen Him impact others powerfully, often through the smallest gestures. Offering to pray for someone, asking a question and listening, reaching out to someone in need or distress, stopping for a stranger – be led and respond.

We live in a country which is in desperate need of good news. If you are in any doubt, check the news. People will look everywhere to find the good news they are seeking; they need no encouragement for that. So be free with the good news that you have received. Stop worrying about what people will think of you; let God be God, you be yourself, and if anyone is interested, let them know. They may have valid questions and objections to religion, but when they truly meet Jesus, He is unmistakeably and undeniably good news, to everyone.

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