As we continue our look at the Gospel of Mark, we’ll now see how the ministry of Jesus relates to the Gospel message. You probably already know that the word, Gospel, literally means the Good News.
But what exactly is that Good News? I think you’ll be surprised at how the modern church has turned the message around, making it empty of its power.
If I were to ask people “What is the Gospel?” I’d probably receive many answers. There’s a host of believers who are actively trying to “win the lost.” They would most likely give me very Biblical answers.
What I want to know, are the perceptions of those who hear the Gospel. From talking with unbelievers who have been “witnessed to” I could boil it down to the following: “You’re an evil sinner going to hell, but if you repeat a special prayer you can go to Heaven.”
If that’s what they got out of an encounter with a Christian, then something’s wrong with our approach. There’s no way to demonstrate a statement like that. That’s why so many unbelievers are bitter toward those who have tried and failed to convert them.
We need to return to a true understanding of what the Good News is all about. That’s why Jesus, Himself, is a great example.
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Jesus made two statements. The kingdom of God is near was the Good News. God was showing up on the scene to change their lives for the better. Freedom, healing, and deliverance were about to be demonstrated to the people of Israel.
The Lord then told those listening to Him how to respond to this Good News. Repent and believe is not the Good News, it’s the response that’s needed. We must learn that the power is in the Good News, not in the response to the Good News.
In many cases, we’ve started calling the response, the Gospel. You can’t go out preaching “repent and believe” and assume you’re bringing the Gospel to the world.
When it comes to the Good News, one size doesn’t fit all. There are gang members and single moms, Wall St. executives and the homeless. Is the Good News the same for all of them?
Don’t get me wrong, I realize that the response to the Good News must be the same for all people. But the message itself will be different depending on who you’re talking to. This is how God established it in His Word.
God, Himself, gave us four Gospels. Matthew was written for the Jews and Mark for the Romans. Luke was for the Greeks and John contained Good News for the Christian.
It’s a fact that religious people need to hear something different than the unchurched. The Bible itself describes the Good News in many ways. It’s called the Gospel of the Kingdom, of God, of Christ, of God’s grace, of your salvation, and the Gospel of peace.
Of course, no matter how the Gospel message is tailored to an audience, Jesus Christ is central. Furthermore, it all must be demonstrated by the power of the Holy Spirit in order for the world to see the full picture.
Question: How can you bring the Good News to those in your sphere of influence?
© 2017 Nick Zaccardi