What is the gospel? What is this good news that Christians are bringing up all of the time? You know, in my short time here in this life I have come to a conclusion regarding this good news in our culture: most people don’t know it.
No way! Everyone knows about Jesus and Christmas and Easter and the cross and the resurrection and all of that “good stuff”. After all, there are movies and books and people talking about it all of the time, and many people are dragged to church at least once in their lives. How could they not know what the gospel is about?
In the Bible, Jesus goes from place to place healing people and casting out demons and teaching these incredible things with an authority that no one had ever seen before. And everyone who witnessed it believed in him, right? Wrong. Many people still didn’t believe in him. He was right there! He was right in front of them, and they still didn’t get it. Jesus said, “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (Matthew 13:13) The truth of Jesus Christ might be right in your face, but it isn’t sinking in. And the thing is, you probably think you already know it. But you might not.
The precursor to the good news is that you’re a wretched sick self-centered sinner with no hope for life. Are you with me so far? This is important. This is the part that many people today don’t understand. I want you to ask yourself, am I a good person? If you’re a good person and you are well and satisfied, the gospel isn’t for you. Why would it be? If you’re healthy, you don’t go to the doctor. It’s a waste of time and you don’t want to be around sick people. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) If you are fine on your own, why would you want to accept a teaching that calls you a wretched sinner deserving of punishment? I certainly wouldn’t.
If you think you are well, you will not understand the gospel message. You will not find Jesus Christ.
If you don’t want to look inward, I challenge you to look outside of yourself. Look at the world around you, and also the world in general. Is there more evidence that people are good deep down inside, or is there more evidence for what the Bible teaches? Be honest.
Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! (John 8:43-45) Jesus
The good news comes after the bad. The bad news is that you are wretched. The good news is that God Himself made a way to save you from this living death.
Jesus and God are one. The Bible is very clear on this. “The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30) Jesus dying on the cross was a way to satisfy God’s wrath and justice regarding our evil natures. Since Jesus forgave those who came to him, and since he is God in the flesh, he removed the punishment for their sins. And since he raised to life again, he can provide life for those who follow him.
The cross is at once a clear illustration of the evil present in our world and the extent to which God loves us. The good news is that, though the world is very evil and full of pain, God loves you to the point of dying for you. He is eager to call you his son or daughter.
The good news is that, though you deserve death, God gave His life to save yours.