The word gospel is from an Old English word meaning good news, the translation of the Greek term for these accounts of Jesus.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)
Good news travels fast
Social psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed social media habits and found people more likely to share good news than bad.1 Twitter has become a place where news breaks. Since it launched, the highest compliment for users of this social media platform is to have one of your 140-character messages “retweeted”—shared by other users.
You may be surprised to learn that Pope Francis has the most frequently retweeted Twitter account in the world (@pontifex). This may be an indicator that people are hungry for good news and truth. The good news retweeted from the Pope’s account may also indicate the interest people have in God.
These thoughts about Twitter were prompted by the first verse in the Gospel according to Mark, which reads like a modern-day tweet:
@GospelMark: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” #hehasgoodnews #heisgoodnews
What is the Gospel
In his first sentence, Mark alerts his readers to what is to come in his account of Jesus. He provides a short summary of the acts of Christ and the identity of Christ. It is as if he cannot wait to begin to share the good news he has come to know and love. The word gospel is from an Old English word meaning good news, the translation of the Greek term for these accounts of Jesus. The Greeks used the word for gospel to declare a military victory, announce a royal birth, or broadcast a political triumph.2 Mark uses the word with the intention of passing on the good news about Jesus. More importantly, he intends to proclaim that Jesus is the good news.
Today we begin a thirty-day journey with Jesus and his disciples to see what it means to be on mission for God—which means, in effect, to retweet Jesus. No, I do not mean sending 140-character comments about Jesus into cyberspace, although that could be an effective method of sharing Christ. I am talking about the good news of Jesus making such a difference in your life that he can be seen in your thoughts, words, and actions. Sisters, Jesus is good news worth retweeting!
What does it mean to you to be on mission for God? When you consider your life as a follower of Christ, how are you sharing the good news of Jesus?
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, today let me be a conduit of you and your good news. Amen.
1 John Tierney “Good News Beats Bad on Social Networks,” New York Times, March 18, 2013, accessed August 24, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/science/good-news-spreads-faster-on-twitter-and-facebook.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
2 Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012), 31.