The Gospel is the good news of Jesus’s story, captured in the New Testament and in the tradition of the Christian church. It is the proclamation and demonstration that Jesus came announcing: the Kingdom of God has come near! In short, Jesus is the Gospel.
The Gospel is that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Davidic King of the Jewish people. Problem was, Rome had conquered Judea, the homeland of the Jewish people. Therefore, any claim to political authority was a threat to Caesar, the Roman emperor.
But Jesus came preaching the “Kingdom of God,” an alternative social order that not only upended Rome’s political authority, but also upended the unjust and idolatrous practices of the Jewish leaders of Jesus’s day. In God’s Kingdom, Jesus preached and demonstrated, it’s the poor who are blessed, not the rich. In God’s Kingdom, Jesus preached and demonstrated, it’s the peacemakers who are children of God, not powerful.
Jesus’s revolutionary life and message confronted the powers that be with their corruption and hypocrisy. It also challenged the very authority of the world’s largest superpower. For this, he was murdered by crucifixion, a state execution reserved for violent rebels—even though he was innocent.
But that’s not the end of Jesus’s story. On the third day after Jesus’s death and burial, God raised him from the dead and he was revealed to many witnesses. The resurrection of Jesus not only vindicated Jesus’s life and message as wholly true, it ushered in the long-awaited Age to Come.
Since that time, Jesus-disciples live in faith, following Jesus’s teaching, receiving God’s grace and Spirit, and partnering with God to build the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. As we are caught up in Jesus’s story, we are liberated from our distorted humanity and the bondages of the Present Age that is fading away.
This story—Jesus’s Story—is at the center of Dust & Clay.