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What is the Gospel? The Gospel in the New Testament: Fulfillment of the promise (Part3)

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The Gospel in the New Testament: Fulfillment of the promise

Gospel-Image-540x330“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
According to Mark 1: 15, Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of God saying:The Greek word, euangelion, is used more than 100 times to refer to the Gospel. The New Testament consistently uses this word in connection to the Triune God. The Gospel is called repeatedly:

  • The Gospel of God, meaning the Gospel that belongs to God [the Father]; The Gospel is God’s own purpose. He who envisioned the redemption. (Mark 1:14; Rom 1:1; Rom 15:16; 1 Thes 2:2; 1 Thes 2:8; 1 Thes 2:9; 1 Peter 4:17)
  • The Gospel of Christ, meaning the Gospel concerning Jesus Christ, who accomplished redemption through his blood on the cross. (Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; 2 Cors 2:12; 2 Cor 9:13 ; 2 Cor 10:14; Gal 1:7; Phil 1:27; 1 Thes 3:2)
  • The Holy Spirit is said to be the Spirit of truth [truth of the Gospel] who appropriates the completed work of Christ in the life of all who trust the Gospel. (John 14: 17; 15: 26; 16: 13; Gal 3: 14; Eph 1: 13)

Mark’s initial comment about the content of Jesus’ preaching is: “The time is fulfilled“. The arrival of the appointed time lies at the center of his gospel proclamation. That meant to his hearers that the waiting is now over. God has kept his word. God’s reign has now been restored to his people in the person of his son (Luke 17: 20-21). The appropriate response to this good news [gospel] is repentance and faith. Mark is yet to tell us, however, the whole story as to how God’s reign is precisely restored fully. It was through the suffering of the cross and the victory of the resurrection. [3]

[3] The oxymoron or the scandal of the gospel is not that the Kingdom has come, but in how the kingdom has come & is realized. A crucified Messiah was not what Jews anticipated; more than that a resurrection from the dead was reserved at the end of the world when God finally judges the world. But the Gospel proclaims that the king has come and was crucified and yet He lives. He was raised from the dead as the first fruit of those yet to believe in him. Resurrection from the dead has happened in the middle of this ages with out the world ending. This mystery is what Jesus himself taught in his parables as the Mystery of the Kingdom of heaven (Matt 13). Paul also calls this the “secret decreed before the ages for our glory” “we preach Christ-crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Mark 1: 1 reads, “The beginning of the good news…” and he identifies John the Baptist as well as Jesus as those who herald the gospel of God. However John proclaims the gospel by pointing his index finger as it were to the coming one: whose sandals, he is not worthy to stoop down and untie. But Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of God by precisely directing attention to himself as the locus of God’s reign. His activity and whose authority, as the bearer of the kingdom, transcends anything any human being has ever seen. He calls fishermen “Come follow me…” demons cried out:

Have you come to destroy us?” “And the people were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying:‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.‘”

Mark recognizes that the activities of Christ in healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, forgiving all sins…as the evidence/ sure-sign that God’s reign has come here on earth.

Isaiah 61: 1:- The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the

Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor

According to Luke 4: 21, Jesus identified himself as this anointed servant of God:

21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

What Isaiah predicted it would happen [Your God reigns] has now been realized in the life of a Galilean prophet by the name: Jesus of Nazareth. This was the announcement of the good news of the Kingdom.

*** ***

This brief survey is to show what the Law and the prophet testify have been fulfilled in the person and work of Christ Jesus. That is the beginning of the Gospel. To better understand the Gospel then we need to examine what precisely the Gospel brings to light. To do this, therefore it is important to see that the Gospel has three components that always must coexist. 

  1. The Context of the Gospel: This is to know what was anticipated and promised in the Old Testament, apart from which the Gospel just simply does not makes sense. This context is what makes the news, really good news. 
  2. The Gospel itself:The person and work of Jesus the Messiah.
  3. The Fruit of the Gospel:This is what the Gospel produces in those who receives its message. (Evangelism, Faith and Repentance) 

It’s like an air plane. The left wing would be the context of the Gospel, the right wing would be the fruit of the gospel and the Airplane itself is the Gospel. Or using a biblical imagery, that Jesus himself employed, the Gospel is like a Vine tree. It has a root system- the context of the gospel, the Vine-Itself (the trunk- the gospel) and the branches (believers) bear fruits. Therefore the gospel of the Kingdom is sown to the ground, the farmer is God the Father, the root system is the context of the Old Testament, the vine is Christ in the Gospel, and the fruit is what is produced in the life of those (branches) that have received the truth of the Gospel and bear 30-60-100 fold.

This will be discussed further in the coming sections, however for now let’s examine how the Gospel is communicated & understood in the daily preaching of the Apostles first. & points derived form: 1 Cor 15: 1-10/ Rom 1: 1-7/ Rom 16: 25-26/ 2Tim 2: 8.

Before I do that, however, I would like to point out that at this point evangelism and the gospel should be handled distinctively. Not that they are ultimately separate categories, but evangelism is the outworking of the gospel, the proclamation of the gospel. To understand the gospel is not primarily to understand methods of evangelism or the need for outreach. These are matters of mission and contextualization and not the gospel itself.

The Gospel, as we will look at, is the announcement of the inauguration of God’s long awaited kingdom through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the scriptures, in light of God’s eternal purposes, for the salvation of human beings and the cosmos!

© 2013 – 2014, Samson Tilahun. All rights reserved.

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