What is the Gospel?: Part 2, The Gospel is News

The first and most basic thing to know about the gospel is that it's news. The gospel is an announcement about an event.

It's important to get this right, as we can get confused about the nature of the gospel. We can be tempted into thinking the gospel is a political project, some social engineering to improve the world, a path toward enlightenment, a therapy, or a technique for actualizing in getting your best life now. But as I pointed out in Part 1, the gospel is none of these things. The gospel isn't a technology, something that we can put to use to achieve some good we select for ourselves.

And neither is the gospel a presentation of a theory of atonement, a theological speculation concerning how Jesus's death on the cross saves us. 

So, the gospel is news. Not technology, not theology, not theory. News. Which raises the next question: News about what?

The simplest and shortest way of sharing the news is the statement "Jesus is Lord." A bit longer and fuller sharing of the news is the news about the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. For example, here is Peter sharing the news in Acts 2, on Pentecost:

"God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear...Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” (Acts 2.32-33, 35)
Here is Paul sharing the news in Acts 17, on Mars Hill: 
"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17.30-31)
The consistency of the news presented is striking given Peter and Paul's very different audiences. Peter is sharing the news in Jerusalem with Jews, and Paul is sharing the news in Athens with Greeks. Yet the news is the same. The news is about Jesus, how his death and resurrection reveal him to be "Lord and Messiah" and "the judge of the world." Again, the simplest way to share the news is "Jesus is Lord."

This much seems clear, obvious even. Jesus is Lord. But this raises still another question: What is the import of this news? Why does it matter? What impact does it have? How does it change anything, if at all?

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