All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Monday, December 17, 2018

News for All People

Our culture has a voracious never-ending appetite for news.  If local reporting is slow, we have several news wires to keep “the news” supplied with news. We even have news about the news. Despite dissatisfaction with the news that has become increasingly public in the last few years, the flow of headlines shows no signs of abating.

The pace of news production and consumption has accelerated ever since the invention of the telegraph. In the last couple decades, the internet has caused a reshuffling of news business models that news organizations are still trying to work out today. Large macro news organizations are struggling to redefine their identity with these new hyperlinked circumstances.

Smaller trade publications, on the other hand, are thriving. As people work in increasingly specialized ways, their need for news also becomes increasingly specific. Even the large news organizations that aim for mass appeal still split up their news content among various interests. After a section for general news, USA TODAY splits off its content into areas for sports, life, money, tech, and travel. The reason for this is pretty simple: not everyone cares about all of the news. Not all of it applies to everyone.

This is why it stood out to me this year when I read again about news “for all people.” It turns out this is a strange and bold statement.

Much has been said about the delivery of news from angels to shepherds, but this post is about just a small phrase included in the angel's opening line: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

If most news isn't for all people, how can this news be for all people?

The reason starts with something that should not be news: all people have sinned. (Many people like to think of themselves as good people, but this mistaken impression may be based on their ability to do good.) We not only have sinned, we have sin. The news, then, for all people is that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). All people have sinned. All people need a Savior. Jesus is that Savior, available to all people.

This has all the makings of a good news story for “the news,” too.

There's a saying in the news business, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Jesus bled, and that is the most important part of this news.

Another saying in the news business is, “News is something which somebody wants suppressed; all the rest is advertising.” Christians have been persecuted for their faith since Jesus' ascension by people trying to suppress this news. We continue to see persecution, most recently this month with renewed crackdowns in China. Iran recently arrested 100 Christians to intimidate them into silence about the news of Jesus during Christmas.

Nonetheless, this is news God has given us to publish and proclaim. In Acts, right after release from persecution, “daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42). Whether in freedom or in bondage, may we, too, teach and preach the news about Jesus as the Christ to all the people.

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