What Does the Word "Gospel" Mean? (Y1.T1.D8)
Updated: Sep 11
Pexels, "Markus Winkler"
Within Christian circles, “gospel” (or the ancient Greek word euangelion) refers to the story of Jesus Christ and is often relegated to New Testament thinking only.
But if you read my post from Day 4, you know that Jesus' story isn't limited to the New Testament.
This word euangelion, which means "good message" or "good news," has a rich background in the Old Testament. There, the basic meaning of the term gospel was simply an announcement of a good message. If a doctor came to examine a sick person and afterward declared that the problem was nothing serious, that was gospel or good news. In ancient days when soldiers went out to battle, people waited breathlessly for a report from the battlefield about the outcome. Once the outcome was known, marathon runners dashed back to give the report. That is why Isaiah wrote, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news" (Isa. 52:7). The watchman in the watchtower would look as far as the eye could see into the distance. Finally, he would see the dust moving as the runner sped back to the city to give the report of the battle. The watchmen were trained to tell by the way the runner's legs were churning whether the news was good or bad. If the runner was doing the survival shuffle, it indicated a grim report, but if his legs were flying and the dust was kicking up, that meant good news. That is the concept of gospel in its most rudimentary sense.
That means the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in Mark 1:1 is exciting. The God of all creation is coming to earth.
We should feel the same level of anticipation that comes with a job promotion or a destination vacation and even if we didn’t feel that excited about it when we read our verses yesterday. We can today.
So let’s pause. Let anticipation flow around us. Inhale the breath gifted to us by the Almighty and celebrate the good news.
Ready? Let’s Go!
1 Since many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, 2 even as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 that you might know the certainty concerning the things in which you were instructed. (Luke 1:1–4)
1 The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the prophets, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face. “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you: (Mark 1:1–2)
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain.
5 Yahweh’s glory shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it.”
6 The voice of one saying, “Cry!” One said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because Yahweh’s breath blows on it. Surely the people are like grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever.”
9 You who tell good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who tell good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength! Lift it up! Don’t be afraid! Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold, your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord Yahweh will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom. He will gently lead those who have their young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and marked off the sky with his span, and calculated the dust of the earth in a measuring basket, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed Yahweh’s Spirit, or has taught him as his counselor?
14 Who did he take counsel with, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance. Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its animals sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are like nothing before him. They are regarded by him as less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to him?
19 A workman has cast an image, and the goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts silver chains for it.
20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot. He seeks a skillful workman to set up a carved image for him that will not be moved.
21 Haven’t you known? Haven’t you heard? Haven’t you been told from the beginning? Haven’t you understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in,
23 who brings princes to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
24 They are planted scarcely. They are sown scarcely. Their stock has scarcely taken root in the ground. He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the whirlwind takes them away as stubble.
25 “To whom then will you liken me? Who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these, who brings out their army by number. He calls them all by name. by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, not one is lacking.
27 Why do you say, Jacob, and speak, Israel, “My way is hidden from Yahweh, and the justice due me is disregarded by my God?”
28 Haven’t you known? Haven’t you heard? The everlasting God, Yahweh, the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t faint. He isn’t weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might.
30 Even the youths faint and get weary, and the young men utterly fall;
31 but those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run, and not be weary. They will walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:4–31)
Hallelujah. Thank You for restoring to me the joy of my salvation (Psalm 51:12). The world contains so much bad news I’m grateful for the ability to pause. Help me focus on true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely things (Philippians 4:8). For the rest of the day, I want to seek those things above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1). Your good news is all I need.
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