[The Gospel According to…] Luke 4:16-21 revisited

Yesterday’s post left us with a question. Jesus reads Isaiah 61:1-2 to the synagogue in Nazareth, then shuts the book and tells the congregation, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” How can he have fulfilled those verses, right there at that moment, when the passage in question is about the restoration of the Jewish nation’s fortunes?

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out an answer to this question, and it’s been like pulling teeth.

[The Gospel According to…] Luke 4:16-21

We’ve looked at Isaiah 61 before in a different context, but today the context is this: Jesus reads the passage in front of the synagogue, as is traditional, then tells everyone that the passage has been fulfilled right then and there. Everyone is amazed. (“Jesus of Nazareth Reads a Prophetic Passage in the Synagogue. What Happens Next Will Blow Your Mind!”) Right off the bat, this chapter of Isaiah tells us: “The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted” (Isaiah 61:1). Remember that “Messiah” or “Christ” at its root means “anointed one,” and that anointing a person’s head with oil in Jewish tradition was a symbolic way of showing they’d been chosen by God. I’m inclined to conclude that, in a manner of speaking, the gospel is almost as old as the expectation of the Messiah.

[The Gospel According to…] Luke 3:7-18

Welcome to Luke. The first mention of the gospel comes as the coda to a passage of John the Baptist’s preaching: “So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people” (18). His preaching, however, is hardly a message of comfort and consolation. He calls his audience a “brood of vipers,” (7) tells them that the axe is at the root of the trees (9), ready to cut down those that don’t bear fruit, and warns that the coming Messiah will separate the wheat from the chaff and burn up the chaff (17). Good news, judgment is at hand!

[The Gospel According to…] Mark 16:14-16

In the aftermath of Easter, we’ve reached the last explicit mention of the gospel in Mark. The resurrected Jesus tells his disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (15-16). His command underscores once again the importance of the gospel as seen in Mark 13:10, “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” The good news is vital for all of mankind.

[The Gospel According to…] Mark 13:9-13

Today’s passage: Mark 13:9-13. “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” That’s Mark 13:10. It comes in the middle of Jesus warning his apostles of upcoming persecution, courtroom trials, floggings, betrayal by family members, and death. It’s similar to a passage we’ve seen before, Matthew 24:9-14, but that passage emphasizes the bigger picture, while here we’re getting a focus on what the apostles will suffer.

[The Gospel According to…] Mark 10:17-31

Today’s passage: Mark 10:17-31 Yesterday, I concluded that investigating the kingdom of God and what it stands for will give us insights into the gospel. Conveniently, today’s passage explicitly mentions both the kingdom of God and the gospel. So, a man with lots of property is unwilling to sell all his possessions, give the proceeds […]

[The Gospel According to…] Mark 8:34-38

Today’s passage: Mark 8:34-38 Following Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah and his balking at the notion that the Messiah must be killed by the authorities, Jesus tells his disciples and the multitudes, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will […]

[The Gospel According to…] Mark 1:14-15

Today’s passage: Mark 1:14-15 Today’s passage immediately follows Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist and his 40-day temptation in the wilderness by Satan. It’s short enough that we might as well paste it here in its entirety: Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and […]

[The Gospel According to…] Mark 1:1-8

Today’s passages: Mark 1:1-8, Malachi 3:1-7, Isaiah 40:3-11 The word ‘gospel’ appears no more than five words into Mark’s account, which opens with: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (v.1). Right from the outset, Mark tells us that the gospel is Jesus Christ’s. It’s from him and belongs to him, as […]