My grandparents knew a woman who used to call and tell my grandmother all her calamities. Every week, it was another gut wrenching story about what went wrong and how her life was ruined. When she would call, if my grandfather answered the phone, he’d ask, “whats the good news?,” before handing the phone to my grandmother. Its was funny, but at the same time, a good question for us.
It’s a funny thing. The word “gospel” means “good news,” and when I first began following Yeshua, we talked about the “good news,” and what a wonderful thing it is. But the more time i spent around Yeshua followers, I found that I didn’t hear much good news. People were always telling me what was wrong with “other” people, or the government, or politics.
Even when they talked about other people who followed Yeshua, they told me how their theology was all wrong, and how we couldn’t trust them because they would use every opportunity to spread their errant doctrines. They would point out people’s flaws, and say I’d be better off not hanging around people like that. The problem with that was if I avoided everyone who was “bad,” I’d only get to hang out with a small group who was warning me to avoid everyone else.
I didn’t follow Yeshua to accept other people’s likes and dislikes. I believed in Yeshua because of His message of life, not the negativities of others.
The worst thing for me was that people were telling me that God loves the Jewish people, but I should stay away from anything that had to do with Judaism and the Rabbis. They said most Jews were on their way to hell and while we “love” them, they just don’t understand. I had a real problem with this, because I follow Yeshua because I believe he is the Messiah. I didn’t reject Judaism, because it was the religion of Yeshua. Yeshua didn’t come to end or replace Judaism. He taught Torah, and mitzvot.
People like this say that the Jewish people were “set aside” in the plan of God, until they recognize Yeshua. I have a real problem with that view. First of all, for Yeshua to be the Messiah, he has to be good for the Jews. If his coming resulted in the bulk of Jewish people over the last 2000 years going to hell (as some Christian theologies purport), then he wasn’t good for the Jews. If his coming meant that Jewish people were no longer the covenant people of God, and they were replaced with non-Jews, then he wasn’t good for the Jews. I have a hard time understanding how such a view could be even remotely construed as “good news” for anyone.
For me the problem is not with Yeshua. Yeshua came to the Jewish people. Yeshua was and is the Messiah, and he IS good for the Jews. The problem has never been Yeshua. It has been his followers. Yeshua’s good news was that God loves us and cares about us, and desires to bless us. That’s good news.
The news brought by historic Christianity has been less than good for the Jews. Historic Christianity’s news for the Jews has been that God doesn’t love you anymore. You have been replaced by the Church. You are just another people, nothing special. You and your whole people are going to hell unless you become part of the Church. What ever you want to call it, it’s not good news, at least not for the Jewish people. Either Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel, which would mean his coming would be good news for the Jews, or he is not the messiah of Israel, and his coming is bad news for the Jews. If he isn’t the messiah of Israel, then none of his claims could be valid.
Yeshua came to Israel, and brought a message of good news. He is the Messiah who loves his people. He is very much like the Patriarch Joseph, who, in a world of Gentiles, is dressed like one. He sought to redeem them as well, without breaking the ties with his own brethren. When his brothers came before him, they did not recognize him. But far from rejecting them and punishing them, he loved them and hugged them and took care of them. Yeshua has only love for the Jewish people, and when he returns, will rule the earth from Jerusalem.
Bad news came from Christian theology, not from Yeshua. Jews have been sinned against by the church as they shed the blood of the Jewish people in Yeshua’s name. Their actions profaned his name. Their replacement theology also profaned the Name of Yeshua because it is a lie that keeps Jewish people from seeing the true good news that God loves them and cares about them. It keeps them from understanding the love of Yeshua.
The good news is that God loves us, and Yeshua is our Messiah. The God of Israel is our God and we are His people. He cherishes us, and cares about us. In the end, even though we are scattered, will take us to Himself. Now that’s what I call…. Good News!