Good News

Somewhere, perhaps very near and perhaps quite far away, there is a throne that shines like gemstones in the sunlight. And God is on the throne. Thunder and lightning blaze and crash around the throne, and a glassy lake encircles it. The lake flows into a river that brings healing to all who drink its water. Great seraphim hover around the throne, covering their faces and feet with four great wings as they fly. They call out to one another saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And they never cease in their song.

.~.~.~.

Once there was a prince and a princess and they lived in a beautiful garden called Paradise. Every evening while the sun set they would walk with Jesus in the garden and talk to him face to face.

Every evening, God would tell them, “I made you, I love you, and I want to be with you forever.”

One morning while they wandered in the garden, they came across a beautiful and dangerous tree. God had said to them, “Eat any fruit, except the fruit on this tree. If you eat it, you will die.”

But the fruit was beautiful. So Eve said to Adam, “Let’s just look at it, please? It can’t hurt to look.” And Adam, who should have said, “No, Eve, let’s not,” said, “sure.” So they walked over to look at the fruit, and the fruit was beautiful. As they looked, they heard a voice coming from deep within the branches of the tree. The voice asked a question, “Did God really say? Did he really say you can’t eat this fruit?”

“Of course he did.” Eve replied.

And then the voice told a terrible lie. “God’s not really good. He doesn’t really love you.”

Eve believed the lie. She reached up, picked a fruit, and took a bite. The sweet juice dripped down her chin and she offered it to Adam. Adam thought about his beautiful wife and how much he loved her. He decided that he loved Eve more than God, so he took the fruit from her hand and he ate it too.

So death came to the world through a choice, a lie, and a fruit hanging on a tree. And this choice, this betrayal began the war against God that has been raging ever since.

Adam and Eve’s children rebelled against God. So did their children’s children and their children’s children’s children—all because people believed the lie that God isn’t really good.

But God made people, and he still loved them. So jump forward thousands of years. There is a man, standing in a room with his closest friends. This man is God. He is saying to them, “There is no greater love than this, if a man gives up his life for his friends.”

He knows, that on that very night one of his friends will betray him. He knows that he is going to die a terrible death. But he’s going to do it anyway because he made them, he loves them, and he wants to be with them forever. There is no greater love than the love that he has for the people he made.

That night, he’s weeping in a garden. Not a paradise garden, but a Gethsemane. And he’s saying, “Father, take away this cup, but not my will. Yours be done.”

Soldiers come, and they take him away.

The leaders of the people look at Jesus and they say, “He is not good.” They don’t know it, but they’re repeating the very old lie of the serpent in the tree.

The soldiers make him carry a heavy wooden cross and they nail his hands and his feet to the beams. And he hangs there on a tree—dying. When God said, “You will surely die,” could anyone have guessed that he would die the promised death?

 

And they put God in a tomb. But He is stronger than death.

Just like a seed goes into the ground and dies, and the snow covers it and then melts into the ground cleansing everything. His blood cleanses us. Life comes from death. He is alive, he conquered, he is victorious, and we are alive too.

Death lost its victory, but also its sting.

And God says to us, “I made you, I love you, and I want to be with you forever. I want to walk with you face to face in Paradise.”

And someday we will.

.~.~.~.

Somewhere, perhaps very near and perhaps quite far away, there is a throne that shines like gemstones in the sunlight. And God is on the throne. Thunder and lightning blaze and crash around the throne, and a glassy lake encircles it. The lake flows into a river that brings healing to all who drink its water. Great seraphim hover around the throne, covering their faces and feet with four great wings as they fly. They call out to one another saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And they never cease in their song.

 

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