The Gospel of Jesus Christ, or the Good News of Jesus Christ as preached and taught by the original Apostles and their spiritual descendants over the centuries can be found in the first four canonical books of the New Testament of the Holy Bible. These four books are entitled The Gospel According to Matthew, The Gospel According to Mark, The Gospel According to Luke and The Gospel According to John.
These four books, by four separate authors, each set out to portray slightly different views of the same truth, as seen by and for, different authors and audiences. But like the two sides of a single coin, they comprise one whole, just as all sixty six books of the Bible, comprise one whole.
Matthew’s Gospel aimed to present Jesus as both the Messiah and the Son of David such that it would aid Christians in evangelising and converting Jews. Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the four and contains no genealogies or information on the birth of Jesus, instead concentrating on the geographical movements of His ministry and quickly moves from one scene to the next.
Luke, a doctor, in his Gospel, clearly states his purpose to present (1:3) an “ordinary account” of all that Jesus began to do and teach so that we would have historical evidence available of His teachings. Luke takes his position impartially between the Jews and Christians, portraying Jesus not just as a Jewish Messiah, but the world’s Saviour, while providing believers assurance that Christianity is real and integral with the events of history.
John’s account of the Gospel in outline is much the same as the others and he likely knew of them before writing his version, which is not in chronological order, but rather topical or thematic order. His chapters 2-12 are the public ministry of Jesus while 13-21 are His private ministry. John deals with the theological implications of the first coming of Jesus, demonstrating His pre-existing state with God, the deity of Jesus and the incarnation of Jesus.
Each Gospel, therefore, provides a slightly different nuanced view of the same truth. While theologians agree there are no contradictions in the Word of God, the casual reader will find this truth hard to swallow and will quickly evidence apparent contradictions between the texts. All of these, however, can be overcome and resolved by diligent study and prayer; earnest prayer in which the Holy Spirit will reveal the necessary corrections to one’s views.
Within the four canonical Gospels and throughout the Old and New Testament, we can also find summaries of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. While the Gospel is of immeasurable breadth and depth warranting a lifetime of study, it may also be summarised into simple and easily understood lines which the common man and woman, may understand without trouble. Further, these summaries stand alone in support of the more detailed Gospel, both enhancing it and buttressing it, yet without the need of theological arguments. Such summaries can be seen in this sample:
Isaiah 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed.”
Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Acts 10:43 “All the Prophets give witness to Him, that through His name whoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins.”
Acts 13:38-39 “Therefore be it known to you, men, brothers, that through this One the forgiveness of sins is announced to you. And by Him all who believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”
Romans 4:25 “Who was delivered because of our offenses and was raised for our justification.”
Romans 5:8 “But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
First Corinthians 15:3-6 “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve. Afterward He was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, of whom the greater part remain until this present day, but also some fell asleep.”
Second Corinthians 5:19 “Whereas God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and putting the word of reconciliation in us.”
Second Corinthians 5:21 “For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Second Timothy 2:8 “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.”
Titus 2:14 “Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people, zealous of good works.”
Hebrews 9:28 “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many. And to those who look for Him He shall appear the second time without sin to salvation.”
First Peter 2:24 “He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.”
First Peter 3:18 “For Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, indeed being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit.”
First John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins.”
These short summaries, these short encapsulations of the Gospel are for our benefit. We do not come to our full measure of Faith all at one time, it is a continuing and ongoing work within us, which grows as and develops as we receive new confirmations and as additional parts of the jigsaw of the Gospel come into our view and comprehension.
The single, one time event of Christ’s sacrifice on a cross at Calvary, has been working out ever since in our lives, and in the lives of our Christian forefathers. After the cross, Jesus descended, rose again, then ascended to be enthroned as our Lord and as our coming Judge. For born-again Christians, Jesus relates to us in many and various ways, both directly and through the Holy Spirit. He is our Saviour, our Lord, our Teacher, our Priest, our Master, our Friend. He is King, He is Prophet, He is Priest, and He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Being all these things and more, it is hard to imagine that Jesus, the Son of the Living God, would be amazed at any man or marvel at any man, but that is what Luke 7:9 records saying “And hearing these things, Jesus marvelled at him. And turning to the crowd following Him, He said, I say to you, I have not found such faith, no, not in Israel.” Jesus was talking here about a Roman soldier, a Roman centurion, who had demonstrated to Jesus a Faith unlike that which He had ever seen demonstrated before. Later, in the same chapter, at v50, Jesus also commended a woman for her great faith saying “to the woman, Your faith has saved you, go in peace.” This man and this woman have been remembered by God in His very Word, a Word which He holds higher than His name (Psalm 138:2), they were remembered for their Faith.
Without doubt, this is what all born-again Christians are called to: Faith. As Paul wrote in Galatians 4:4-7 “when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, coming into being out of a woman, having come under Law, that He might redeem those under Law, so that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So that you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.” This is written for us today that we may know, that we may have that same faith which stunned Jesus.
We need to know and remember that we, as born-again Christians are parts of, and integral and indispensable parts of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, for a world in trouble and mired in sin and depravity; a world, which will soon feel the wrath of the Living God, for their wanton disobedience and rebellion. Paul, in Galatians 2:20 tells us how it was for him and how it ought to be, no, how it must be for us also, saying: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.” This is what Paul expected of us and this is what Jesus expects from us, nothing less.
We have been given the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus and we are required to pass it on to others. This is not an optional position for a Christian; it is the position for all Christians. That which we have freely received, we must freely give, we must freely pass on. As coming to faith is the greatest single accomplishment of our lives, so too we must share our faith with others, so they also may be recipients of the Gospel and be saved. For as Jesus himself said this in Mark 13:10 “the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations” and yet again in Matthew 24:14 saying “this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all nations. And then the end shall come.” Without doubt, all born-again Christians are called to do this.
Amen and Amen.
I come before You now an confess that while I am saved by my faith in You and the redemptive sacrifice of my Lord Jesus, I have done little of nothing in my life so far to share You Gospel, which You freely gave me. I repent for my inaction and selfishness and ask for Your forgiveness. I pray Lord that You will change me now and place within my deepest being an imperative to spread Your Word, to spread Your Gospel such that others may come to faith and be saved. Father, please bring to me, or put into my path daily, Your chosen souls, such that I may do my part for You and minister to them. Change my heart of stone and selfishness to a servant’s heart which beats for You and You alone.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen and Amen and Amen.