Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Matt Rogers on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Matt’s local newspaper is The Roanoke Times. Here is Matt Rogers on the Good News. His entry is entitled: Fixing a Failed State.


Something about the “Good News” used to bother me. I’d hear at Easter that Jesus had shown us through his resurrection that he had defeated death and evil on the cross. But I work at Virginia Tech, where we just passed the second anniversary of the massacre there. My fellow Hokies and I can tell you: Death and Evil are still very much alive.

And then there is the matter of my “neighbors.” I live adjacent to a cemetery. The stones dotting the ground there remind me constantly that death is real and present, despite what Jesus did. Sure, I can say Jesus overcame his own death, but what good is that to the families across the street from me, lowering their loved ones into the ground?

A man rising from the dead 2000 years ago was a pretty cool trick, I’ll grant you, but where are the signs that it changed anything for us today? How exactly is it good news?

I have my alarm set to NPR, and sometimes those soft voices are not enough to drag me out of sleep. For a half hour or more, I drift in and out, catching bits and pieces of the morning’s news. One day, just before Easter this year, I came up from sleep just long enough to hear the term, “failed state.” A few more awakenings later, and I’d put together that Somalia was a failed state, and that the newly elected leader had a tough challenge ahead, trying to restore order there.

A failed state. The term got me thinking. The Apostle Paul, in his great defense of the Resurrection, says, “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead … for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:20, 25-26).

“For he must reign until …” Somalia is still a failed state, despite having a new leader, and just because the new leader reigns does not mean all is well. There is work to be done, for he must reign until he has restored Somalia to a healthy, thriving state.

Likewise, our world is still a failed state, despite having a good King now at the helm. Christ reigns, yes, but his order has not yet spread to all the earth. There is work to be done, for he must reign until he has restored this failed state of a planet to its original good design. Then death will be destroyed, for it is the last enemy to go.

The restoration process begins with us. Each of us is, individually, a failed state. We’ve tried leading ourselves, running our lives, and we’ve failed. We need a new leader, a good King, who can come and reign until all the enemies-the evil and death-within us are destroyed. Then we become agents of this good King, ambassadors of the world’s new Leader, sent to spread this good news to all the earth: Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matt Rogers is co-pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship [nlcf] at Virginia Tech. He is the author of When Answers Aren’t Enough: Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn’t (Zondervan, 2008) and Losing God: Clinging to Faith Through Doubt and Depression (InterVarsity, 2008). Learn more about his writings and his blog at his website.

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