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The Gospel According to Jesus - September 2017, Prescott, AZ

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This present study follows a series of studies on the presentation of the Gospel (Good News) message throughout the Bible. We began with “The Gospel According to Isaiah,” then to “The Gospel According to David,” followed by “The Gospel According to Abraham,” “The Gospel According to Moses,” and “The Gospel According to Noah.” Our next and final study will be “The Gospel According to Paul” in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in October 2017.

The object of these studies is to show that the Gospel message of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world—His crucifixion and resurrection providing for our eternal salvation—is the central message of the Bible.

It is also designed to demonstrate that salvation in every age, in spite of other dispensational distinctions, is always by grace, through faith in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. The Early Anticipation of Jesus’ Gospel

We need to bear in mind that “gospel” means “good news.” As Christians, we tend to limit the meaning of gospel to the essential message leading to salvation, such as “whoever believes in Him [shall] not perish but have everlasting life” (JOH 3:16), or “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (ACT 16:31). However, the term “gospel” has a much wider usage throughout the Bible (consider ISA 61:1 with LUK 4:8), as we will see in this study. The common factor is that it always points to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ—whether prophetically or in retrospect.

A. His Names Foretold

In the Bible, one of the many designations for God is “The Name” (3JO 1:7, literally, “for the Name”). It conveys the idea of essence, character, mighty deeds, and reputation. The names given to the Savior in Scripture are almost endless, but let’s consider just these. Speaking to Joseph, an angel of the Lord says:

“And she [Mary] will bring forth a Son, and you will call His name Jesus, for He will saveHis people from their sins. So all of this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet [ISA 7:14], saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” MAT 1:21-23

The name “Jesus” is the same as “Joshua” in the Old Testament and means “Salvation of Jehovah” and, by implication, “Anointed Savior.” Matthew gives us the meaning of “Immanuel”—“God with us,” or “God in our midst.” How is that for an introduction to the Gospel!

It would take several pages to list all the names used in the Bible for our Lord and Savior—just to encompass His majesty and might—but consider ISA 9:6, where we have four names. Think about how beautiful they are:

1. Wonderful Counselor

Though many translators take this as two distinct titles, “Wonderful, Counselor,” possibly based on the angel of the Lord’s response to the mother of Samson (JDG 13:18). In keeping with the other names, all involving two roots, it is best to keep this title consistent (see ISA 11:2; ISA 25:1; and ISA 28:29, where the two titles are used together). The NET Bible translates this as “Extraordinary Strategist” since the context of ISA 9:3-5 is His military might. In even greater ways, think of all that is encompassed in Jesus’ words to His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (JOH 16:33). We could never begin to count all the ways this is proven true just in our own lives.

2. Mighty God

This could be translated “the warrior God,” in line with EXO 15:3; PSA 45:3-4, PSA 45:6-7. This flows from the first title, He who is mighty in strategy is a valiant warrior in battle, victorious in all He does. Note that this is a title of Jehovah in ISA 10:21-23 (much to the chagrin of the Jehovah’s Witnesses). Compare also DEU 10:17 and JER 32:18.

3. Everlasting Father

The King was to be a “Father” to His people. He would guard, provide for, and protect them. Here, this care will extend for all eternity. Some take this to mean, “the Father of eternity,” which is certainly true of Jesus Christ, but probably not the thought here. If we continue the flow of thought in the names, because His strategy brings victory, His people will reside in peace, thus the next title.

4. Prince of Peace

The final prospect brought about by the Messiah is peace—both with God and among men. Many figures are used to portray the peaceful environment of His kingdom (see MIC 4:4-6), which will be established on the conditions of “peace through military victory.” He will defeat and destroy all the schemes of the devil (2CO 2:11; EPH 6:10-11; HEB 2:14-15; 1JO 3:8). The result will be a world kingdom wherein peace with God and all mankind reigns (see ROM 5:1-5 with EPH 2:14 and 2TH 1:2; 2TH 3:6).

B. At the Virgin Birth

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” LUK 2:10-11

The phrase “good tidings” is evanggelizomai, the verb form of evangel or Gospel. Literally, “I evangelize you,” or “I bring you the Gospel.” From this Gospel will come “great joy” to all mankind (every tribe, tongue, and nation). The place, “the city of David,” links the Savior to the Davidic Covenant (2SA 7:12-17), which promised the Messiah (Anointed One). This is amplified by the title “Christ” (anointed) who is identified as “the Lord” (God in the flesh). Just think how much “good news” is packed in this announcement!

As an added highlight, this announcement occurred in the sheepfolds outside of Bethlehem where, from ancient times the “tower of Eder” stood (GEN 35:21). This is translated “tower of the flock,” which prophetically was declared to be the place where Messiah would come and where His kingdom would begin (MIC 4:6-8). This tower and its prophetic significance was known from the time of Jacob—and possibly long before!

C. Declared at His Bar-Mitzvah

“And he said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My father’s business?’” LUK 2:49

Beginning in LUK 2:21 is a very interesting section. First, His name “JESUS” (“Salvation of Jehovah,” MAT 1:21), is given by the angel. Then, in LUK 2:22, the Greek reads, “their (plural) purification.” Throughout this section, both Mary and Joseph are included (see LUK 2:27, LUK 2:33, LUK 2:39, LUK 2:41). Although it was Mary’s purification required by the Law (LEV 12:2-4), Joseph would be included in the offering and dedication of the firstborn to the Lord (EXO 13:1-2). The point is that Mary and Joseph were dedicated to pious obedience to the “law of the Lord” (LUK 2:39). Also, at this time, Simeon and Anna testify to both His identity and mission as Savior (see “Consolation … Lord’s Christ … Your salvation” in LUK 2:25-26, LUK 2:30).

Then, flowing out of this dedication of Mary’s “firstborn” comes the story of Jesus in the temple. At this time, Jesus was “twelve years old” (LUK 2:42). It was common for the Jews to anticipate, for a year, what we call today the Bar Mitzvah, when the young man became a “son of the Law.” It was at this time that the child (teknon) became a man (huios), and chose his life’s work. Thus, the words of Jesus take on much greater significance, “Did you not know that I must be about My father’s business.” Specifically, in the context, this would be expounding His Father’s Word, in keeping with JOH 1:18 “He has declared Him.” The verb used here means to “exegete.”

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