In my daily devotionals growing up, somehow I missed the good news that Jesus could save me on earth in physical and emotional ways—even though I was already spiritually saved for heaven. Finding this brand of holistic peace, which helped me find a calming joy with Jesus in everyday life, meant I could give it away.
“The friendship I offer you is practical and down to earth, yet it is saturated with heavenly Glory. Living in My Presence means living in two realms simultaneously: the visible world and unseen, eternal reality. I have equipped you to stay conscious of Me while walking along dusty, earthbound paths,”
September 5, —Jesus Calling.
I’m just an ordinary person. But I started to live a spiritual adventure by following Jesus to the nations in my neighborhood, to people with the least access to Jesus Christ. I made friends with international students across the street from India and Saudi Arabia—and welcomed refugees from Iraq and Sudan. Eventually, God moved me, my husband, and our four children around the world to a beautiful, chaotic, colorful Muslim city by the sea in India.
I found that as Western Christians, we often think the “salvation” people need most is payment for their sins so they can be with God in heaven forever. Yes, this is good news, and it is certainly true. But for many around the world living in pain, poverty, and persecution, it doesn’t address their current earthly situation. So the gospel as we know it is not really good news to them yet.
How do we walk along the dusty paths across the street and around the world and offer good news that actually comes across as good? Staying conscious of the “two realms” that we live in, the “seen and the unseen,” helps us offer the Presence of Jesus Christ as the answer to both realities.
In the Gospels, Jesus didn’t offer good news in the same way to everyone. How He offered good news always depended on the person’s immediate, visible need—and his or her inner felt need. Jesus Christ is the good news, and His kingdom is the good news—and it’s good news that is worth something right now.
To the woman bleeding for twelve years, he offered healing
. . . and emotional peace (Luke 8:48).
To the despised tax collector, he offered friendship
. . . and inclusion (Luke 19:10).
To the child in his lap, he offered a prayer of blessing
. . . and value (Matthew 19:14).
To the crazy demoniac living in a cave, he offered freedom from evil spirits
. . . and a right mind (Mark 5:15).
Have you experienced Jesus in these ways? Emotional peace. Inclusion. Value. A right mind?
As we experience Jesus’ constant presence and goodness in our own lives, we can discover the customized, present way a friend needs “saving” and apply the appropriate remedy.
As we look to bless the nations, tuned in to the Presence of Jesus, for example, we’ll find it’s good news that Jesus offers His presence to homesick international students at a university near us who need comfort (John 14:16–19). He offers welcome to those refugees moving to our own city who feel abandoned without a country (John 15:16).
It’s good news that Jesus offers dignity for women caught in the slave industry in places like Nigeria and Nepal who feel unworthy (Luke 7:36–50). He offers a family to orphans and widows in places like India and Bangladesh who don’t have one (Eph. 2:19). He offers provision to those living in poverty who don’t have enough (Matt. 6:26).
How can you be that brand of good news to foreigners and vulnerable people? Giving comfort. Offering welcome. Bestowing dignity. Embracing them as family. Being the provision?
As we enter the Thanksgiving season, let’s live out 2 Corinthians 2:14 and “spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”
We can include refugees and international students in our holiday celebrations. We can give generously to cross-cultural workers and international organizations that empower oppressed and unreached groups around the world. We can pray passionately for those same people to experience physical, emotional and spiritual freedom. Some of us might explore moving to live in countries where few Christ followers live, giving away joy and peace with our very life.
Let’s give away good news in physical, emotional and spiritual ways to the nations in our neighborhoods…and beyond.
Jeannie Marie is the author of Across the Street and Around the World: Following Jesus to the Nations in Your Neighborhood and Beyond.
Jeannie Marie is a strategist for an international agency that recruits, trains, and sends people to live and work in more than fifty countries. Jeannie and her husband and four children live in the sunny suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona.