Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jesus is the Content of the Gospel

From Michael Green's, Evangelism in the Early Church:

"The Christians 'proclaimed the good news' of 'the gospel' or of 'the faith'. More specifically, they proclaimed the good news about 'the kingdom', as Jesus had done. But this could very easily be misunderstood in the Roman Empire, as it was, for instance, at Thessalonica; so it is not surprising to find them more frequently preaching simply the person and achievement  of Jesus as the good news. And yet it is surprising; it is fantastic! The one who came preaching the good news has become the content of the good news! What clearer evidence could there be that the earliest Christians regarded Jesus with the highest  possible respect, as embodying in his person and achievement the kingly rule of God himself? It was Origen who said Jesus was the autobasileia, the kingdom in person; but the idea was there in the apostolic proclamation of Jesus. So we find them spreading the good news that Jesus is the Messiah, or that through him the ancient promises have been fulfilled. We find them proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus, of the Lordship of Jesus, of the cross of Jesus, of the resurrection of Jesus, or simply of Jesus himself. Nothing more was needed. For however expressed, whether as the Messiah of the Old Testament expectation, as the Lord over demonic powers or whatever other category of interpretation was employed, the early preachers of the good news had one subject and one only, Jesus. This was their supreme concern."

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