Monday, August 13, 2007

The gospel: what is it? IV

Paul's gospel
Some scholars make a big deal of the differences between Paul and Jesus, claiming that the Pharisee from Tarsus perverted the original simple teaching of the Gallilean healer. Some even call Paul 'the founder of Christianity'. However, while the two came from different backgrounds, spoke to different audiences under quite different circumstances, and belonged to differing chapters of the unfolding story of salvation, nevertheless, their fundamental message is aligned. Jesus proclaimed the arrival of the reign of God in his appointed king. And we find the same story in Paul.

He too has the same gospel of a crucified and risen king bringing God’s peaceful reign. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul makes reference to an early Christian summary of the announcement he brought to Corinth about five years earlier:

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
       that the Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
       that he was buried,
       that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
       and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

- 1 Corinthians 15.1-8

Paul’s gospel, his good news, is also all about Jesus being king through death and resurrection. Remember, 'Christ' means king.

The gospel is the good news that the crucified and risen Jesus is God’s king, the Christ. To proclaim the gospel is to announce this reality, by telling his story.
Series so far: I; II; III; IV; V.