The gospel is a person
The gospel is a person.
Let me say that again.
The gospel is a person.
The good news….the evangeleon…is a person.
The gospel is not a philosophy.
Or a four-step, five-step, or whatever-step programme.
It is not a lifestyle choice.
Or a behaviour modification plan.
It’s not a religion.
Or a certain set of ethics.
It’s not about rules.
Or a belief-system.
It’s not about the correct political affiliation.
It’s not about measuring up.
The gospel….is good news….God’s good news….about a person.
Mark begins his account of Jesus’ with these words – The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah.
Acts 8:5 – Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah.
Acts 11:20 - …and began to speak the good news about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 28:31 – He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness.
Colossians 1:28 – He (Jesus) is the one we proclaim.
And when the gospel-writer, John, talks about God’s ultimate self-disclosure, he used the phrase the Word. He said that the Word became flesh. God’s ultimate revelation of himself was a person. God’s message was a person.
Canadian pastor, Bruxy Cavey, writes, “Jesus didn’t just claim to show the way; he claimed to be the way. Jesus didn’t just claim to reveal truth or teach truth or point to truth; Jesus pointed to himself as the very embodiment of truth. Jesus didn’t just teach a way of life; he claimed to be the very life we’re looking for.”
God’s message was a person. And that person pointed to himself as the subject of his message.
Yes, I know that, usually, when we talk about the gospel we talk about Jesus’ death and resurrection. We might even talk about sin and forgiveness. And the Kingdom of God.
And increasingly, when I talk about ‘the gospel’ I talk about the ‘Story of God’…..the big sweep of the bible.
But that Story is about a person. About Jesus.
The cross? The resurrection? They only matter because they involve Jesus.
The Kingdom of God? Yes, it’s what Jesus came to inaugurate. But again, it’s all about Jesus. We follow Jesus into the Kingdom. We enter through Jesus.
Now, I’m not being deliberately awkward. Books and books have been written on ‘the gospel’. One well-known Evangelical website I looked at lists more than 60 definitions of ‘the gospel’. But we must never lose sight of what Charles Hodge (principal of Princeton Theological College between 1851-1878), once wrote,
“The Gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.”
Yes, the Gospel is profound and gloriously rich. Brilliant, like a multi-faceted diamond. Deep, like the deepest ocean.
But it is also beautifully simply.
It is the good news of all that God has done, is doing, and will do, through Jesus.
The gospel is God’s good news about Jesus.
The gospel is Jesus.
*This blog flowed out of studying the bible with some friends. We were looking at what the gospel is, and I think, were reminded of how, when you strip everything else away, Jesus is right at the centre.