Jesus is the Gospel. The Gospel is Jesus.
Jesus is the Great King and Jesus is the Good News. The Gospel is the Good News of the installment of God’s Son on a throne—a declaration to the whole world that the Heavenly Family reigns. Though Jesus reigns invisibly now, he is more powerful than all other kings known to man and is ready to be revealed on the ultimate day of history. All people are appointed to stand before him at his throne, and those who love and worship him will welcome his appearing, but the rest will tremble before him as they receive the word of their punishment.
Jesus Reigns! The reason this is Good News is found by going back to the opening chapters of the Bible where we learn the story of our plight. Human history is the tale of mankind marching as slaves under Satan’s banner. We are a people born into a single family of rebels, inheriting lives that end in death. Yet, in that dark context, another story emerges, one wherein God himself was preparing the way for his Son, Jesus, to overthrow the banner of rebellion.
In the beginning, the heavens and earth were the first kingdom. God created heaven as a throne, and the earth as his footstool; the universe was his domain. But Satan, one of God’s great creatures from the heavenly places, was crafty and conspired to have dominion over the earthly realm. He looked upon the first people, Adam and Eve, as an opportunity to have his own kingdom. He wanted to rule like God, and in his passions he turned to conscripting mankind. Satan, also called the Dragon and the Devil, became the Father of All Lies and persuaded Adam and Eve to swear allegiance to a rival kingdom. And so two kingdoms are recorded in the Bible, and there we learn how Adam left the one and took the human family into enemy territory—trusting in Satan’s rule and his way of being king. From that point on, all people are born outside of the Garden of God—born citizens of a defective kingdom with rebellion and a grave as an inheritance.
God judged man and Satan for their rebellion even as he promised the earthly family a restored inheritance; a deliverer would come from the woman—a child would be born to reverse the Garden rebellion by mortally wounding Satan, the Usurping-King. This promised champion would plunder the Devil’s domain and take away followers for the rebuilding of the kingdom of God.
That day arrived 2000 years ago in Israel when God became flesh. Jesus of Nazareth was born to the virgin Mary and was anointed as King with the Spirit of God. From a lowly start in a Bethlehem stable, Jesus’ life and pilgrimage took him to the city of Jerusalem for a climactic battle. There the Devil launched his final offensive by having Jesus killed on a Roman cross (the instrument used by Rome to banish enemies). But in this supposed banishment and defeat, God was enacting his victory. With his own blood, Jesus was paying for the sins of those that would swear allegiance to him. This victory was affirmed and sealed by God in the resurrection. Jesus was raised as the Conquering King, rewarded with a kingdom of servants and a throne without end. Man’s chief enemies—Rebellion, Sin, Death and Satan—were defeated on the cross. Satan’s kingdom was ransacked, and those redeemed out of it are made into the abode of God. By his Spirit, God himself dwells in and among his people—a people that replicate Jesus in the world by living a life of the cross.
We join this heavenly kingdom by delighting and trusting in Jesus’ rule and in his way of being king. We swear allegiance to Jesus by loving him, confessing him as King and obeying his commands—even as we long for his appearing. The Good News is that Jesus Reigns and not Satan, Sin and Death. This Gospel is declared to you today. As death did not rule over Jesus, so too shall the followers of Christ be raised from the dead to rule and reign with him in a restored inheritance, a glorified heaven and earth.