The Gospel According to Jesus
In our culture, the word “Gospel” has come to mean a lot of different things, but its original meaning has been largely forgotten. When Jesus first spoke of the gospel, he was using a word that was widely understood by the ancient people who came to him starved for truth. Originally, the word “gospel” meant “good news”, and was often used to speak of the good news of military victory against one’s enemies. A “gospel” was the message that a soldier carried back from the battlefield to tell the anxious people in towns and cities throughout the nation that they had won!
That was what Jesus meant when he said to his closest followers, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
For Jesus, the “gospel” was the good news that God had broken into human history, driving back darkness and offering freedom to anyone who wanted it. How could he say that? Because he knew what he was talking about. He wasn’t just a philosopher with profound insight or even a prophet with divine revelation. Jesus was the Son of God who had become one with us by becoming one of us. He was born as a child, grew up and eventually began preaching this good news that God cares so much about us that He was unwilling to leave us languishing in darkness, loneliness, hopelessness and evil.
For Jesus, the “good news” wasn’t just that God cares about us in some kind of abstract, detached way, but that God had sent His own Son to point the way back to Him and then to die as a substitute for us all, paying the consequence of our sin – our selfishness, our pettiness, our jealousy, rage, hatred, prejudice, lies, meanness, etc. – so that we could be forgiven and set free. This was the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed: freedom from sin and freedom for a new life lived in relationship with our Creator, a life that can begin right here and now and will last for all eternity. God did something about it…He sent us His Son.
But how can we know that Jesus really knew what he was talking about, that he was really who he said he was? Because he was eventually crucified and buried…but rose from the dead three days later. This is not a matter of opinion or faith…it is a fact of history. The fact that God raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead is the proof positive that everything Jesus had said was true and that he was who he said he was…and had accomplished what he said he would accomplish: paying the consequence of our sin and making it possible for us to be forgiven and free.
You can be set free right now…and for all eternity…simply by accepting what Jesus has done for you. If you believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be and did what he said he would do, and you acknowledge that you need his forgiveness, you can have it simply by saying something like this to God right now. Understand, what matters is the desire of your heart to turn away from your sin and let God take his rightful place in our lives, but this prayer is a good place to start:
God, I’m sorry that I’ve sinned in more ways that I can ever count
I know that I don’t really deserve your love and forgiveness
But I desperately need it.
I believe that your son, Jesus, died on the cross to forgive me for my sin
I believe that Jesus rose from the dead three days later
So Jesus, I’m inviting you to your place as the king of my life
If you will forgive me, I will serve you
Thank you for dying for me
Thank you for rising from the dead for me
Thank you for taking away my sins
Thank you for setting me free!
If you just said those words to God (or something like them), then we want you to know how thrilled God Himself is about your decision. We’d also love to have the privilege of telling you some other exciting truths that go along with the decision you’ve just made. If you’ll fill out this short form below, we would love to send you some free resources to help you take the next steps in this new relationship you have with God: