and sinners reconciled
word ‘gospel,’ in its broadest sense, means ‘good news’. Not just any good news
but that which Jesus, the Messiah, proclaimed in the New Testament of the Holy
Bible. When the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in the fields to
bring them the good news, it was to announce the birth of the King of kings and
the Saviour of the world. He said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good
news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a
Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”(Luke 2:10-11)
God takes on the form of a human being, is born of a women --- but exceptionally by a virgin. He comes down to earth from heaven as promised by the Old Testament prophets, to live with humans. Immanuel (God with us), is cause for great joy.
The shepherds were joined by a host of angels as well and they sang praises to God for this unprecedented and unexpected gift to humanity. “Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests. ‘ ” (Luke 2:13-14) Joy to the world!
Charles Wesley captures this in a hymn: “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail the incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel.” Christ lays aside His glory; he is born that man may die no more; “Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth....Life and light to all He brings.” (Methodist Hymn Book 117)
The good news is that God shows special interest in his creation, like never before. “For God sent His Son [Jesus] to save the world from sin.” (Matthew 1:21) His Son who “committed no sin and no deceit was found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22) has become the cure for sin. Sin had pervaded the earth from the time Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. It had spread like canker-worm eating into the system of God’s creation. An effective remedy had to be found. For this reason, the Godhead appointed Jesus, the Son, as the perfect sacrifice and substitute for an appropriate and permanent solution.
In one of the apostle Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he wrote: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: 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...” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Jesus’ ministry as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew could be summarised thus: “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23)
The gospel has to be preached throughout the world such that those who receive it would be saved from sin and its consequences. Sin is a killer-disease and only in Jesus Christ can we have dominion over it. The Lamb of God, gave His life on the cross to die for the sins of humanity. The Word of God teaches, “For without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [of sins].” (Hebrews 9:22) Jesus, the true Lamb of God, shed His precious blood. The blood of slaughtered animals had been merely a shadow of things to come.
This good news is breaking news! We no longer have anything to fear, our sins have been forgiven. God has put the penalty of sin on His Son. We have been set free from all guilt. His grace has covered and paid for all our mistakes, errors and misdeeds. We have become objects of God’s untiring and unconditional love and mercy which we have neither merited, earned nor deserved. It is being offered free of charge. It matters how we receive His grace.
The mystery of the gospel
The sweetest part of the message is that we do not have to die anymore because we died with Christ. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3) “I die daily...” (1 Corinthians 15:31) When we die with Him we are not afraid to die because He promised that we would live again. “I am the First and the Last, I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18)
Light takes over darkness
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) With the advent of the long-promised Saviour, a light has shone, turning our darkness into light. Indeed, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) We are called to abandon our ungodly and corrupt ways to walk in the light. The Lord calls us to be beacons of light, and expects to “... shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise the Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Are we shinning that light? We ought to walk in the light of the Lord so that we may be worthy of the name that we bear as Christians; for we have seen His wonderful light, He “who called [us] out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)