If ever you are wanting to learn about Jesus or the Bible, a great place to start is the gospels! These are eye witness accounts of Jesus’ life and tell us some of the things he said and did. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the shortest is Mark so let’s go there first!
Mark starts his account by saying:
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”Mark 1:1
The word he uses as ‘gospel’ simply means ‘good news’, so Jesus has something to do with good news!
Gospel = Good News
So whatever comes next must matter, what does Mark say next?
“…as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:Mark 1:2-3
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.'”
Okay so Mark then quotes from Isaiah the prophet who is talking about a guy called John the Baptist, and Isaiah is from around 700 BC! So this good news has not just started with Jesus (although he is very important!), but it is something that has been a long time coming. Sounds like this Jesus could be the fulfilment of this ‘good news’!
But what about John the Baptist? What role does he have in this story? Well what does Mark say next?
“And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”Mark 1:4
Isaiah said that John the Baptist would come to prepare the way for Jesus, so it seems that the gospel has something to do with repentance and the forgiveness of sins then!
But what does Jesus himself have to say about the gospel? Skip down to verse 14…
“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”Mark 1:14-15
Okay so Jesus says the gospel is about the Kingdom of God, and that it is near, and perhaps the way to be a part of this kingdom is to do what John the Baptist said and to repent and believe, for the forgiveness of our sins!
So Mark seems to show that the key elements of the ‘good news’ are:
- Something that has been planned long ago
- Forgiveness of sin
- Kingdom of God
So we can say that the gospel is God’s plan from long ago, to lead people in repentance and belief, for the forgiveness of their sin, so they can inherit the kingdom of God! Sounds like an awesome plan, but how is God going to deal with our sin, you know, all the bad things about us that make us unworthy of God?
Well if you keep reading Mark’s gospel you will see how God dealt with the problem of our sin! Jesus would later say…
“…The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”Mark 9:31
Ultimately Jesus died as an innocent man on a cross, for your sin and for my sin, and that by believing in him you can be forgiven and be a part of God’s eternal kingdom!
Sounds like good news to me!