“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).
WHEN THE TIME CAME AND GOD BROUGHT TO COMPLETION HIS PLAN TO PROVIDE SALVATION, THE PLAN WAS COMMUNICATED IN WORDS. In the Scriptures, this announcement of the deliverance from sin that God made possible is called the “gospel.”
It is an interesting fact that God chose to use the medium of human language as He did. Crucial to His rescue plan was its communication by means of words from one person to another. In 2 Corinthians 5:18,19, Paul refers to the work of the apostles as the “ministry of reconciliation,” and he calls the gospel the “message of reconciliation.” The NIrV aptly paraphrases this as “the message that people may be brought back” to God. And in Ephesians 1:13, Paul said the joys of salvation came to his readers only after they heard “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” The gospel, then, is not a magical or mysterious feeling — it is a message.
But here is the important (and indispensable) point: the message is about Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus that God is offering salvation. In 2 Corinthians 5, we hear Paul affirming that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (v.19). And concerning Christ, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (v.21).
The message that God has opened up the way for us to be forgiven — and that Jesus is the Messiah (or Christ) through whom this was accomplished — is “good news.” Indeed, it is the best news the world has ever heard. In the familiar story of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke, we hear the angel saying to the shepherds in the field, watching their flocks at night, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (2:10,11). These are wonderful words.
“Though you do not now see him, you believe in him,” Peter wrote, “and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8). What could make our hearts sing with greater joy than knowing God has made it possible for us to come back to Him?
“Euangelion (which we call gospel) is a Greek word, and signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tidings, that makes a man’s heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy” (William Tyndale).