The word gospel literally means “good news.” This was chosen as the word to use for the central message of Jesus Christ because the eyewitnesses of Jesus had no better way of describing it other than it being really good information that people needed to know.
I can only imagine the initial shock of realizing that Jesus had conquered death. Just imagine what people’s reactions would be like today if a scientist or medical doctor revealed to the world that they had developed a panacea type drug that literally defeats every disease and even death itself! This was the awe and excitement of the earliest Christian leaders, they had just witnessed the greatest miracle of all and wanted to declare it to the world.
What exactly is the gospel? The gospel is the full message about Jesus. Below is a “nuts and bolts” version of the gospel that Paul recorded in his letter to the Corinthians (Ch. 15:1-3)
Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you…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, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
Why is this “good news” for us? Simply put, Jesus just showed us the proof that God wants us to live forever with an immortal and perfect body. Sounds good to me! I consider it very “good news” as well because it means that there is a God who loves me enough to save me from a life of sin and deception. Paul wrote that God has “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and delivered us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
I also consider it “good news” because it offers an answer to suffering in this world. The gospel message is initially a story of suffering. Jesus was falsely accused and wrongly sentenced to be tortured and executed. Though being nothing but a positive light to people with his teaching and healing ministry, he died like a criminal.
Most of us can relate to some sort of suffering that we did not necessarily deserve. An untimely death, a disease or disability, a spouse who gives up on a marriage, financial burdens, or anything else that leaves us with the question of WHY ME?!
The answer to this suffering found in the gospel message is “I will make all things new.” Jesus, though suffering and dying like a criminal, was raised to life as “King of kings and Lord of lords” and was “declared with power to be the Son of God.” Just as God showed us his answer to Jesus’ unjust suffering through his resurrection, we too can trust that there will be a day when all things are made right and that God himself will vindicate us.
Peter wrote that it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. This is why looking forward to our own resurrection is so vitally important. Without the hope of having all of the suffering and pain in this world and in our lives answered and made right, it would be difficult to bear such a burden.
What to do? Pursue God by getting to know Jesus Christ. Come to a conclusion for yourself on what you think happened after he was crucified. Was it all some sort of misunderstanding or did Jesus really rise back to life three days later, never to die again? Put your full faith and trust in him and he promises to adopt you as his very own child and give you the gift of the Holy Spirit. Enter into the kingdom of the Son of God and begin to live a life of eternal purpose and meaning.