“But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” Luke 2:10 CSB
I recently started Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). BSF is an international organization, in over 70 countries, that has 1000’s and 1000’s meeting weekly, studying the Bible chapter by chapter. The study is completely free, open to anyone. My first week I learned of its founder, Audrey Wetherel Johnson, a missionary to China. She was English. She spent three years in a Chinese internment camp. Several years later she was in San Bernardino, CA. She spoke to a group of women at a local church. Afterwards, five of those women came to her, asking her to teach them the Bible. In that moment, unbeknownst to those women, a movement had just started. Currently, over 350,000 people around the world are studying “Acts and Letters of the Apostles.” Interestingly enough, when you watch the short 7 minute video of Audrey’s life, she struggled with why God called her out of the mission field to teach 5 women the Bible. She had no idea what was about to unfold in her life. She felt like she should be doing more than teaching a Bible study, but God had her exactly where he wanted her. He knew exactly what He was doing. He was proclaiming the good news.
The good news of Jesus is something we should never be afraid to share. But in reality we are, for good reason. One bad apple can ruin a reputation for an entire group. For instance, recently my husband ran a tennis tournament. During one of the matches, there was a player who exhibited poor sportsmanship. One of the worst moments was when he yelled at a player on the next court who was having entire body cramps. The Rescue Squad was working on him, apparently too loudly. The guy yelled for them to “Quiet down, he was trying to play!” My husband had to tell him, as he was pouring water on this injured player, trying to help cool him down, to be quiet and stop playing. This gentleman’s t-shirt said, “United in Christ.” Jesus healed the sick, He didn’t yell at them. But, for those who witnessed this guy on this particular day, Jesus did yell at the sick. Anyone who didn’t know Jesus, was just introduced to him by this guy’s actions. People remember what people do, more than what they say. No less than 3 people commented to my husband about his actions and the t-shirt the guy was wearing after the match. This is not the good news our verse today is talking about.
The good news we are to share, and we can do so easily, is the good news Audrey shared. A God who loves us so much He sent His Son to die so we could have a relationship with Him (John 3:16 NIV). A God who told us our greatest commandment is to love God and Others (Mark 12:30-31 NIV). A God who will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). And God loves the bad apples, just as much as the good ones. In reality we’re all bad apples, sinners in need of God’s grace. And He gives grace freely, that is the good news we are to share. His everlasting love and grace, without fear, let it be proclaimed.