“Preaching is the proclamation of good news.” This statement represents the core message of my teaching and preaching. Many preachers—perhaps even most—will concur with my statement, but few of them interpret the meaning of that good news in the same way. In fact, Paul’s description of the substance of the good news—namely the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus—is the same as that presented by many of today’s preachers. And those events taken together are indeed good news. But is the memorial of the past enough? Is that repetition sufficient for these days or for any day?
For me the good news that bears proclamation at every event of preaching is God’s active transformative presence in human life. Paul’s declaration to the Corinthians exemplifies the truth of that definition. In his summary of the good news, he names Jesus’ active presence in several lives, including his own. In each case the life Jesus touched was transformed in some way. Paul sums up his argument by recounting the transformative impact of Christ’s call on his own life. He wants to make clear to his audience his belief in the incarnate power of the gospel to transform the lives of those who accept Christ’s call to believe in the good news.
Jesus’ appearance to the apostles and to those who followed his teachings had consequences for their lives. His coming fulfilled the divine promise, and his presence changed the state of things for those who accepted his invitation to receive the good news. The message for today’s church is the same as it was for the Corinthian church: Believe in the good news of Jesus Christ and watch the change happen.
Life-sustaining God, inspire us to receive your good news. May it change our hearts and lives to be more closely in accord with your will. Amen.
The theme of calling is continued in this week’s readings. Isaiah has a vision of God on the throne and is terrified because he knows that he is unworthy; yet he is being called by God. The psalmist, traditionally David, praises God for having a purpose for his life and bringing it to completion. Paul echoes Isaiah’s sentiments of his own unworthiness to the Corinthians. While assuring his readers of the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul recognizes that he preaches only by the grace of God. When Jesus is calling his disciples, Simon Peter recognizes him as the Lord and cowers because he feels unworthy—much like the prophet Isaiah had done. These readings teach us that God’s call is based not on our worthiness but on our willingness.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13. When have you heard a difficult call from God? How did you come to finally say, “Here I am; send me”?
Read Psalm 138. How have you seen God uplift the lowly and the humble? How have these experiences changed the way you live out your faith?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. How does your life witness to Christ’s resurrection?
Read Luke 5:1-11. How has Christ called you? Whether or not you feel worthy to the call, Christ wants you to follow.
Respond by posting a prayer.
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