It's the word the Bible writers' used to described the Christian message. It's a Greek word, they spoke Greek. It means 'Good news'.
Have you ever thought (or understood) that Christianity is essentially news. It isn't advice, it's a report of something that's happenned. Advice tells you 'do this and you'll be happier' or 'try this and you can be better.' ADVICE is offered and rejected, ADVICE can be taken or left, news is different. NEWS is static, NEWS reports, NEWS isn't concerned primarily with your response but with the facts of what's happened.
Here's some Bible quotes that back that up:
Peter talking to the crowd on Pentecost 'You handed him over to be crucified but on the third day God raised him to life.' NEWS
Paul tells his closest friend 'Christ Jesus died for sinner's of whom I'm the worst' NEWS
John tells the religious leaders 'There is no other name under heaven given to men by which they must be saved' NEWS
Paul writes to a church 'Jesus defeated the powers of darkness and triumphed over them at the cross.' NEWS
NEWS, NEWS, NEWS... Our world is full of news. We have 24hr news channels, daily newspapers, news apps. on our phones and news bulletins on the radio.
Some pieces of news lasts for only a day (like the fact that George McCullen won first place in the school cake baking contest), some pieces lasts for a few weeks (like the suicide of a prominent politician), whilst some pieces of news dominates our papers for years (like the death of Princess Diana). It is BIG news this week that Osama Bin Laden is dead and we're told it'll change the world quite considerably. News plays a big part in our lives. Good news travels especially fast:
'It's a boy!'
'She said yes!'
When Riley arrived in the world I delivered the news to my family and friends and my life has never been the same since. The event of his birth has set my life in a new direction. I have a new routine, a new priority and even a new name 'dad'.
The Christian piece of news that has been talked about throughout history, the world over is this:
'Jesus has beaten death, our shortcomings have been forgiven, God is offering friendship and new life to all who want it.'
The event of Jesus' resurrection is one of the most historically verifiable events of all time. The implications of that event are innumerable; life, the history of the world, the purpose of our lives have been set in an entirely new direction.
That's the difference that news can make.
The next time you're tempted to think that Christianity is basically about behaving well or living right or that the church exists to tell people what to do, stop and remember:
Christianity is good news, not good advice.