The Gospel is the good news about the person and work of Jesus Christ. This message was first proclaimed to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after the Fall of Man. The whole Old Testament unfolds the plan God had to save His people from their sin. Finally He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the final fulfillment of that message.
The Apostle Paul is the best known evangelist (lit. "declarer of the Gospel") in the Bible apart from Jesus. In his Epistle to the Romans he builds the case against sin and for God's work on man's behalf to secure salvation. But in his First Epistle to the Corinthians he specifically gives the specifics:
- Jesus Christ died for our sins
- Jesus was buried
- Jesus rose again from the dead
The Problem of Sin
Main articles: Garden of Eden and Fall of Man
In the beginning, God created the world by the Word — who is Jesus — and everything in it. This included the first humans: Adam and Eve. He said they were good , meaning they were complete and perfect. He placed them in a garden in the land of Eden.
However, having created the pair as free moral agents, God had provided a test for them: the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The command was simple and absolute: they were not supposed to eat that tree's fruit. First Eve, deceived by the serpent, and then Adam, disobeyed that command, making the other special tree, the Tree of Life, inappropriate for them.
In a curse on the serpent, God provided a promise: a "son of the woman" that would defeat the serpent. This veiled promise was picked up by Eve, for she named her firstborn son with hopes that he was the one.
Before the two were cast out of the garden, God showed mercy to them by replacing their leafy garments with skins. This has been interpreted as the first sin offering on their account, for it would be copied countless times all over the world throughout history.
The problem was, the death of an animal was only an illustration. It was only temporary and was not enough to reconcile anyone unto God in His Holiness. The concept of the burnt offering began with Abel and is followed by Noah and a string of men chosen to carry on the family line for the Messiah. The problem of sin continued.
The Promise of a Messiah
Main article: List of Prophecies of the Messiah
As He continued to work in history, God narrowed down all the possibilities of who the Anointed One would be. After sending judgment twice -- the Great Flood and the Tower of Babel -- God chose one man through whom the Messiah would come. Through a series of promises, the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, of the root of Jesse, a descendant of David, and of Zerubbabel.
Furthermore, He would be flogged and crucified in the year AD 33. Even with these prophecies, only a very limited number of people could have been the Messiah. Moreover, the Messiah was also born in Bethlehem and of a virgin. He was to die without children, buried in a rich man's grave, and rise to life without ever experiencing decay. There are many more prophecies that the Messiah would have had to fulfilled, but these are only a few. Statistically speaking, it would be impossible for anyone to fulfill all of the prophecies mentioned here and elsewhere in the Bible.
The Good News
God is faithful, and keeps His promises. One man was to fulfill all the prophecies: Jesus of Nazareth. Four records are preserved to tell the story. Twenty-four documents were sent to early believers to help spread the word. As prophesied by Isaiah, the proclamation of "glad tidings" would come.
John the Baptist would preach it first: "The kingdom of Heaven" was coming. That is to say, God was going to take back His world from Satan. And once he was baptised, Jesus would begin to preach the same thing. However, that did not come without cost. The one who was to "crush the head" of the serpent had to suffer apparent defeat. This message was not well received among even Jesus' closest friends.
The Gospels tell of Jesus' ministry in which he moves toward a confrontation with the Jewish authorities. These three years were used to prepare his disciples for the time when their Master would no longer be with them. Finally, all the events foreshadowed in the sacrificial system, as well as prophecies going back over 700 years, came to pass.
After being betrayed by Judas, Jesus faced a hostile "jury" and was convicted of blasphemy. He died on a Roman cross in AD 33 as the full payment for the debt to God our sins caused. He was raised to life during the third day after He had died, proving His claim to divinity and sealing the transaction made at the cross. He made reconciliation with God in his people's place, fixing what Adam and Eve did in the Garden.
The English term Gospel comes from the Old English gōd-spell (rarely spelled godspel), which means good news or glad tidings. "Gōd" (pronounced "gude") would become "good," while the word "spell" was the Middle English cognate of the Old High German spel which means "tale" or "discourse.
The original Greek term translated "gospel" is the word εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion), from the verb εὐαγγελίζω which means "to proclaim a good message." In ancient times, a messenger would be sent in ahead of a conquering king to tell the villagers of his coming.
- ↑ Gen. 3:15 (Link)
- ↑ Heb. 1:1-3 (Link)
- ↑ 1 Cor. 15:3-4, 17-19 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 1:1 (Link)
- ↑ John 1:3 (Link)
- ↑ John 1:14 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 1:31 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 2:16-17 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 3:15 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 4:1 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 3:21 (Link)
- ↑ Heb. 10:1-10 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 12:3 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 17:19 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 27:29 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 49:10 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 11:1 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 9:7 (Link)
- ↑ Haggai 2:23; Zechariah 4 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 52:14 (Link)
- ↑ Psalm 22:16 (Link)
- ↑ Daniel 9:25-26 (Link)
- ↑ Micah 5:2 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 7:14 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 53:8 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 53:9 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 53:11, 55:3; Psalm 16:8-11 (Link)
- ↑ Isa. 52:7 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 27:32-56 (Link)
- ↑ Romans 4:25 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 28:1-10 (Link)