Posted by: Rex Boyles | October 21, 2007

“That is good news …”

A friend of mine brought a friend of his to visit with me. As I listened to his friend, it was obvious that he has known hard times … hard enough to make him want to curse God and die. If you have never screamed at God, demanding Him – begging Him to take you (to “take you out”), you may not understand his pain.

His father died, when he was a boy. He has been an addict and alcoholic for much of his life. His lover betrayed him. He has known sorrow … shame … fear … anger … despair. In his words: “27 years of hell.”

For him, life has been nothing but “bad news” … so he was ready for some “good news”.

We found the gospel of Mark … read the first verse together: “This is the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” 

He didn’t know where “Mark” was … “you are going to help me find that”. He didn’t know that “gospel” means “good news”, but he was eager to hear it. When I asked him, “Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?” … he said, “I didn’t; but I do now. I hated Him for a long time … but He is the only hope I have now.”

So we read about a storm. Men were afraid and mad. (We understood how they felt.) But in Jesus, they found “good news”. Jesus calmed the storm … calmed their fear. When no one else can … Jesus can! That is good news.

So we read about a damned man. He was miserable and suicidal. (We understood how he felt.) But in Jesus he found “good news”. Jesus conquered his demon … changed his life. When no one else can … Jesus can! That is good news.

So we read about a diseased woman. She was desperate and destitute. (We understood how she felt.) But in Jesus she found “good news”. Jesus cured her body … blessed her heart. When no one else can … Jesus can! That is good news.

So we read about a dying girl. Her father was anxious and hopeless. (We understood how he felt.) But in Jesus he found “good news”. Jesus woke up the little girl and astonished her parents. When no one else can … Jesus can! That is good news.

When Jesus can do what no man can do … He must be more than a man. He must be the Son of God. We agreed. So we read the phrase – the one thing God wants us to do, if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God: “This is my Son … listen to Him.”

When I asked if he wanted to listen to Jesus, he said: “I have to.”

And so he did. He admitted that he believed Jesus is the Son of God … confessed that he wanted to live his life “listening to Jesus”. He had already renounced the drugs and is now recovering from the alcoholism. He wants to live his life right. When I asked him, when he wanted his sins washed away … when he wanted to start a new life … he said, “Right now.”

So with his friend watching – along with 4 more of our “Open” folks there – I buried him with Jesus in baptism, so that he could be raised up with Jesus to walk in a new life. He got out of the water … dripping wet … hugging his friend and his new brothers and sisters … forgiven … saved … ready for heaven (no more hell). That is good news.

That is what happened at 2:30p, October 21, 2007 … because a friend introduced his friend to Jesus … because bad news leaves friends ready for good news … because when no one else can … Jesus can!  

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