What was the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed?
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:2-4
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:14-15
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed —a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
The Gospel is that God the King has come near to us in Jesus to establish his Kingdom on earth as in heaven. Everyone who believes in and follows him can be forgiven of their sins and enjoy eternal life.
It seems like a simple question. Most of us should be able to answer it. But maybe the question only appears to be simple…
What is the Gospel? Or, we could put it like this: What was Jesus talking about when he went around proclaiming the kingdom of God? Or, again, what was Paul saying to people when he went out to tell people about Jesus and what he said about God? What’s the summary of the good news of the Christian faith?
Is it, as many Christians believe, the promise that God will save your soul?
Or, is it the promise that, if you will pray this prayer, or get baptized, or join this church, you will one day get to go to heaven? Or, could it be something else?
Within the big story of the Bible, the idea of the Gospel has a pretty specific meaning.
But what was that big story?
It goes something like this.
God created the world and human beings for a purpose—to fill the earth with his glory. But Adam and Eve rejected that purpose, and so sin entered the world.
God then promised to rescue the world through Abraham and his family, what became the nation of Israel. But Israel rejected God’s purpose.
Finally, in fulfillment of his purposes for Adam and Eve and then for Israel, God came himself in his Son, Jesus of Nazareth.
And here’s what Jesus did that makes the Gospel good news:
Jesus lived a perfect life, died for the sins of the world, and resurrected from the dead. Jesus is now sitting on his throne in heaven as king, offering people everywhere the opportunity to have their sins forgiven and to join his kingdom.
And what’s more: it’s the news that you can be a part of God’s story. You can be a part of God’s story through faith in who Jesus is and what he has done. At a personal level, you can be forgiven of your sins. You can be renewed in God’s image. And you can be a part of God’s rescue operation.
Spend some time today thanking God for the Gospel of his Son and ask him to show you someone you can tell about God’s rescue mission.