We, at Redeemer, believe and often say; “The Gospel is the greatest news of all.” When Jesus began His earthly ministry He proclaimed the good news (gospel) of the Kingdom and called for a response of repentance and belief (Mark 1:14-15). Following His crucifixion and resurrection and before His ascension, Jesus commissioned the church to proclaim the good news of His Kingdom to the nations (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). In his book, Crown of Thorns, Tim Chester gives us the cultural context of this language of gospel proclamation. He wrote:
‘Gospel’ was a word with a wider currency beyond the Christian church. In first-century Rome proclaiming ‘gospel’ meant proclaiming the good news that the Emperor had triumphed in battle. The herald might run ahead of the army and arrive in Rome proclaiming the ‘gospel’ of victory. That meant, too, that the King was coming.
In the same way the Christian gospel is the good news that Jesus has triumphed in battle. Sin and death have been defeated, and the King is coming. When he comes he will consummate the kingdom and reign without opposition. The kingdom we saw glimpsed in his miracles will be realised in full. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ (Rev. 21:4). (pg. 62)
Jesus, the King, has defeated the enemies of sin and death through His life, death, and resurrection. He has won the victory! We have been called to “run ahead,” before His return, and announce the victory. However, this is only good news for His people. Chester later said; “the coming of God’s kingdom in glory will not be good news to rebels. To those living in rebellion against God’s rule the coming of his kingdom will mean defeat and disaster” (pg. 63).
When Christ returns as the conquering King to set all things right He will judge and condemn all who stand against Him. As Christians, our job is to proclaim the victory of Jesus and call rebels to no longer stand against Him in their sin, but to instead repent, believe, and receive His victory (Rom. 3:22-24).