Good news, not fake news

Fake news has been around since folks started telling people what’s going on in the next town. They either got it mixed up (remember playing the telephone game where the message became garbled as it went around?) or they did it on purpose for their own gain. Today, with the proliferation of blogs and websites, and everyone’s need to give an opinion, you have to take much of what you read on the Internet with a grain of salt.

The same is true about the misinformation surrounding Jesus. Ever since he started his ministry, and continuing to this day, the stories about who he is have been garbled, ranging to slightly in error to egregiously wrong. The good news of his birth and the reason he became a human has been distorted to the point most people have no clue about him.

The fake news is that God took his anger out on Jesus, because, after all, someone had to pay. Many believe God is still angry and just a hair’s breadth away from squashing us like bugs. But the truth looks much different. God’s plan of redemption had nothing to do with his anger. It was and is all about his love. Jesus not only brought good news, he is the good news: through his life, death and resurrection, he revealed the Father to us and just how much he loves us. Because he is Emmanuel, God with us in every sense, the story of his redeeming love is the best news humanity will ever hear.

God sent the redeemer

“‘The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 59:20, NLT).

Coupons

Today most of us think of coupons when we think of redemption. You go to the store, turn in a coupon and receive a discount or free item. But when Israel was in captivity, redemption meant much more—being bought back from slavery. For them, redemption was their ticket out from under a strict government and harsh living conditions. It’s hard to relate, especially for those of us in western countries, but even so, many find themselves slaves to other things, including addictions, health, financial or family problems.

When Isaiah predicted the arrival of a Redeemer, people got excited. They remembered how he had led them out of Egypt with the pillar of cloud by day and the fire by night so they knew they could trust him to deliver them again, finally and for good. Many expected the Redeemer to come with a huge army to defeat the Roman government, but instead, he was born in a barn and slept in a feed trough. By living a perfect life from conception to adulthood, Jesus redeemed all of human life and all of humanity, buying us back from slavery to sin and death and restoring a right relationship with our Creator.