Probably one of the quirkiest members of our household is our cat Evangeline. Opinionated, inquisitive, affectionate Evangeline.
Her name means “good news” (Greek euaggelion). I like to call her our “sweet little piece of good news”.
In the Bible’s New Testament, the story of Jesus’ world-saving work is also called euaggelion (often translated as “gospel”). This Good News is simple: Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to save us from sin and restore a perfect relationship with God.
In some ways, Evangeline isn’t all that different from the euaggelion of Christ. Sure, she has a tail and whiskers. And the news she brings isn’t always good (“Hey, guys, I just knocked over the water bowl for the fifth time this week!”).
But let’s look at what I mean:
The Gospel arrives when we’re broken
Evangeline arrived a few weeks after our other indoor cat went missing. During that time, my mom scoured our local animal shelter’s spreadsheet for any tortoiseshell cats brought in. One day, she visited the shelter and found a small, scared young torti.
The cat clearly wasn’t our Livvy. But my mom couldn’t bear to leave her. So she took her home. And that kitty is now a thriving, cheeky, affectionate goofball. (And yes, we did find Livvy. They make quite a comical pair.)
The Gospel, too, has a way of showing up when we’re broken. It’s not the kind of news we expect or imagine. It doesn’t solve our problems, or give us exactly what we’ve lost. We might not even have been looking for it, or welcome it when we first see it.
But God is the kind of God who goes looking for the broken, who likes to be found by those who need Him. His Good News is exactly what we need. It takes root in crumbling soil and flourishes in dark, hopeless places. Its roots fill emptiness, bind up broken hearts, create solid ground, and get life and joy flowing again.
The Gospel pervades our lives
Evangeline can be standoffish when my family has guests. But with only us around, she’s everywhere.
She lounges on the window perch in my office while I work. She visits my bedroom desk while I read. She investigates our comings and goings and any unusual family activities.
This interest, although endearing, can be inconvenient. She sometimes blocks my computer screen, jumps on the kitchen table, or wakes my mom up in the middle of the night wanting to play. Sometimes, we feel like we’re being supervised.
The Gospel, too, tends to be pervasive. When we welcome it into our lives, it doesn’t just sit there looking pretty. It changes things, beginning in our hearts and spreading to our minds and behavior. It makes us more Christ-like in everything we do, say, or think.
This can be inconvenient. It can mean revamping our priorities and values. It can mean being more honest with God and ourselves than we’d like to be. It can mean going out of our way to serve God and others.
But when God asks us to let go, He often wants to give us something better. When He asks us to stop one thing, He often asks us to do something with eternal significance.
The Gospel enriches our lives
Despite (because of?) her eccentricities, Evangeline fills our house with joy and energy. She’s a faithful companion, an enthusiastic playmate, and a perpetual entertainer. She enriches our lives.
Jesus’ whole mission was to offer us a more abundant life. Because of what He did, we have the opportunity for a restored relationship with God. We can enjoy the harmony with God that we were made for.
Because He paid for our sins, we can confess them and be assured of forgiveness.
Because He defeated death, we can look forward to our own resurrection.
Because He returned to heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit, we can have the power of God living in us, offering guidance and strength.
Because He’s coming back to earth someday, we can look forward to a renewed world and eternity with our Savior.
Because we know He loves us, we can have peace and joy regardless of our circumstances.
All we have to do is accept His gift, welcoming the saving, pervasive, life-giving Good News of Jesus into our lives.
How has God interrupted your life in a way that brought you closer to Him?