“Is there nothing more to this?” was one of the questions that I shared last time I wrote about if what I knew to be the gospel. I seemed to have questions about it, but no one else did. And even when I posed them to some people that I trusted I didn’t get much of a response from them. Then I had what seemed to be a blatantly obvious question: If the translation of the word “gospel” means “good news” and that seemed to be narrowed down to the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how that deals specifically with my sin, then why were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John called “gospels”? Huh? Anyone else ever have that question? I mean seriously, I couldn’t figure a way to reconcile it. I couldn’t. If a whole book about Jesus is good news, then why did what I knew to be good news only include the last few chapters of that book (i.e.- the parts about His death and resurrection), and a few more chapters in a book that Paul wrote (i.e.-the book of Romans)? The “Gospels” themselves included way, way more than the gospel that I knew. It just didn’t seem to be a logical fit for me.
Then three years ago I started hearing friends using “the gospel” in a way that I hadn’t heard before. Phrases like “The gospel leads us to that.” “That is opposite thinking of the gospel.” “Do you think the gospel would take you to that conclusion?” It confused me because I didn’t know how to reconcile my idea of the gospel with what they were saying. And I didn’t ask. You might wonder why I never asked. Well, I was embarrassed that I didn’t understand what they were saying. Honestly. I have an Masters degree from a seminary and didn’t know what they were saying when they used the basic Christian term “gospel” that way.
But then I was given a book by Brad Brisco and Lance Ford that seemed to help me a bit. It was The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight and…finally. Wow. The light come on. At last there was a language was given to me that put a lot of the jumbled up thoughts in my head on to a piece of paper in a logical form. I am not saying Scot was my “savior” for understanding the gospel, but all of a sudden I began to see it in a way that was bigger than what I ever knew it to be. It meant a whole lot more. It gained so much weight. It actually became greater news instead of just being good news. It wasn’t confined to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but it spread to before Jesus was even here on the scene, and stretched past when He ascended into heaven. It was almost as if the word “gospel” was freed to be itself in my mind. The way it had been used around me the past few years suddenly clicked. The questions I had about “The Gospels” being called just that went away, because the whole book became a story that was incredible news for saints and sinner alike. I felt like I actually began to understand the gospel. It made sense. And the gospel began to be a comfort to me.