No one is more loved or hated than Jesus.
He has many followers and many foes. Some see him as irrelevant and others as a narrow minded religious leader. We see him as the one who changes everything and that is very good news! Why do we believe that the truth of Jesus is good news (gospel)? Read below. Christians use the word “gospel” to refer to the good news about who Jesus is, what he came to do, what he still does, and what he will do.
WHO IS JESUS?
As noted, there are a lot of theories about who Jesus was: a good man, a teacher, a self-deluded prophet, an exaggeration of his disciples’ imagination, or even non-existent (which is quite silly). A distinctly different answer is given by the writers of Scripture. One of the simplest answers is that Jesus is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is fully God and fully man, two natures in one person (a great mystery, we know!). Jesus is God clothed in humanity. He is quite literally “God with us.”
WHAT DID JESUS COME TO DO?
It’s best to take Jesus at his own words. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (see Luke 9:22). Jesus came to suffer, to be rejected, to be crucified, and to be resurrected. Why on earth would God come to do that? Jesus is clear: “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” and “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (see Mark 10:45, Luke 19:10).
Through his death and resurrection Jesus gave his life as a ransom to seek and save the lost. While a lot could be said about this the point is that Jesus suffered, was rejected, and died in our place for our sins so that through his resurrection we might be saved, forgiven, and found by God.
WHAT DOES JESUS STILL DO?
When Jesus saves us it is both for life-after-death and for life-here-and-now. After his death and resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven and enthroned as King over the universe. Jesus is still reconciling the world to himself (see 2 Corinthians 5:19). He reconciles us to God by forgiving our sins which separated us from God. Jesus frees us from the power sin had over our lives and liberates us from the power of evil. Jesus shares his eternal life with us both in the quality of life we live here-and-now and the quantity we will receive forever. He empowers us to live as witnesses to the kingdom of God in our midst by dwelling with us through the Holy Spirit. He invites us into his kingdom through repentance and faith.
WHAT WILL JESUS DO?
Jesus will ultimately reconcile the world to himself. He will make all things new and restore all things; and on that day every knee will bow and recognize him as King (see Revelation 21:5, Acts 3:21, Philippians 2:5-11). When Jesus returns, he will come to judge the living and the dead. He will accept those who accept him and deny those who deny him (see Matthew 10:33). When Jesus returns, he will establish God’s kingdom and finally eradicate sin, evil, and death. He will wipe away every tear, and there will be no more mourning or suffering. We will have no need for the sun or moon because God will be our light and Jesus will be our lamp. There will only be the celebration of God’s beautiful, radiant and illuminating love (see Revelation 21).
All of this is merely a sketch of the gospel (good news of Jesus), but as you can see this gospel really does change everything. The gospel is not advice, it’s good news. It is the good news about God-with-us-in-Jesus reconciling us and the world to himself. God has rescued us from sin, Satan, death, and ourselves through Jesus!