Gospel and the present Christianity - Part 01 of 04
- Gospel and the present Christianity - Part 01 of 04
"Gospel" is derived from the Anglo Saxon "god-spell" which means "good tidings." Oxford Learner's Dictionary defines gospel, "Thing that may be believed with confidence." Greek equivalent "Evengelion" is adopted in Syriac without change of meaning. Literally, a news such as passing examination, daughter's marriage, job promotion, birth of a child, etc that pleases the mind is gospel, but such a position is too lucid a dilution to the actual meaning of `gospel'. In religion especially Christianity, gospel conveys a far greater meaning. The good news therefore, is salvation to all humanity which begins with the Incarnation of our Lord, His crucifixion, trampling death by death, His resurrection, Ascension into heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, His Second Coming and the hope of eternal life.
When we hear the word gospel, the first thought comes to our mind is four gospels of the New Testament, then about the apostles' teachings. That is correct. But the gospel first began in the Garden of Eden when God spoke of the promise of redemption, "The Seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent," Gen 3:15. The Old Testament is the prophecies concerning redemption: Incarnation Tribe: Num 24:17, Place: Micah 5:2, Born of Virgin: Is 7:14, Temple Entry: Zech 9:9, Betray: Ps 41:9, Reject: Is 53:3, Crucify: Is 53:12, Hands and feet pierced: Ps 22:16, Resurrection: Ps16:10, Ascension: Ps 68:18.
St John the Baptist is the first Gospel Preacher in the New Testament. He was sent to prepare the Way to the Lord, as the Voice in the Wilderness. He preached the gospel of repentance; "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance," Mat 3:2-8. Best of all, John the Baptist introduced Jesus to Israel announcing, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world He was before me He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water This is the Son of God," John 1:29-34. The Baptist's message was replete with the gist of Redemption Plan; He is eternally born before the beginning of the world, He is co-equal to God the Father and He is the Redeemer.
Then angels preached the gospel, "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people: for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord," Luke 2:10-11.
The angel heralded the good news, to a group of people who so desperately waited for the redemption of Israel, that Lord Messiah was born. Angel's words had both hidden and evident meanings. Shepherds understood the literal meaning; that is why they immediately went and saw the child. Even "Messiah" they understood as the one who would fight against the Roman tyranny and free the nation of Israel from foreign yoke. But the angel's message had still greater meaning that the born child is "Messiah," "the Lamb of God" who takes away the sin of the world," John 1:29 and the "Lamb of God" slain before the beginning of the world," Rev 5:12. The angel was letting them know that the way of salvation is opened through Jesus Christ. Man, in the Garden of Eden, trusted Satan more, distrusting the words of God, thus Satan surreptitiously put man under his bondage. Relationship of God the Father and man was estranged because of this sin. God in his wrath, cursed man and cast him out of Eden subjecting to hard toil; woman with sovereignty of husband and painful childbearing. God's justice served the sentence for man's iniquity. But God loved his creation and His mercy compelled to redeem his creation through the Son. The aim of Incarnation was freeing man from the bondage of sin and Satan, reconcile with God the Father and restore the lost Paradise. God searched for "A man to stand in the gap before me and the land but found none," Ezek 22:30. Jesus Christ filled this gap as the "One and only Mediator" between God and man, 1Tim 2:5. Let there be no confusion, mediation of Christ is His atoning sacrifice on the cross, which no sinful man could accomplish. Jesus made this clear when he said, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," John 14:6. Mediation of saints and faithful departed is prayer mediation to Christ on our behalf; it does not contradict status of Christ as "one mediator."
To be contd....
Rev. Fr. K K John