What is the Gospel?
The word for “good news” found in Luke 2:10 is the word euangelian in Greek, which is translated as “gospel” or “good news” in English. In the first century Roman-Greco world this word described the activity of a herald who would make a proclamation or announcement on behalf of a king or the Emperor. The announcement usually was for one of three purposes:
- To announce the birth of a king [or Emperor].
- To announce the transition of power from one king to another king [e.g., a king dies and his son takes over or a king is dethroned].
- To announce a royal victory in battle.
In Luke 2:10-11 the angels announced “good news” to the shepherds. What they were saying is that the descendent of King David has been born who is Savior, Christ [Messiah / King], and Lord. To announce this was to say:
- The King / Messiah / Christ who promised to Israel in the Old Testament has been born.
- This means there is a transition of power from King Herod to King Jesus.
- The fact that Jesus is called “Lord” means that Caesar is not, meaning that Jesus is the ultimate King / Lord / Ruler.
- The fact that Jesus is called Savior means that Jesus will be the One to win a royal victory over sin and death (by the cross) to rescue those who will be a part of His Kingdom.
In other words, to say Jesus Christ is Lord is to say that Caesar not. To say Jesus is Lord is to say no person or power is Lord. To say Jesus Christ is Lord is to say there is no other name under heaven by which we are saved. To say Jesus Christ is Lord is to say that it is only through Jesus that we can get to God the Father.
The simple words of Luke 2:10-11 are profound in meaning:
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
So what does it mean to be a Christian?
To acknowledge Jesus Christ is Lord and to submit to Jesus’ Lordship. The outworking’s of this are to live by Jesus’ words in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 –
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and behold I will be with you to the end of the age.”