This year we are going to be journeying through the book, Following King Jesus by Scot McKnight and Becky Castle Miller. The book itself works through the McKnight's books King Jesus Gospel, The Blue Parakeet, One Life, and A Fellowship of Differents. The purpose of the book is to focus on following Jesus as a disciple. It can be done individually or in a group setting.
Question, did Jesus preach the gospel? Seems like a silly question, but if you believe that the gospel is Jesus went to the cross to die for your sins, then there is a problem. McKnight points out that Jesus couldn't proclaim the gospel because he was on the wrong side of the cross. Admittedly this seems glib, but it has truth in it. Did Jesus proclaim the gospel? The answer is YES.
Again, our working definition of the gospel is the story of Jesus Christ as the resolution of Israel's story. With our definition, Jesus preached the gospel. McKnight reminds us that the "Christ" title of Jesus, literally messiah, means anointed. "The word Messiah means 'anointed King' and 'Lord' and 'Ruler.' Lord means, well, "Lord," and the word Son here certainly means the anointed king of Israel, as in Psalm 2. " So when Paul calls Jesus Christ, there is a king/kingdom aspect built into the gospel. What is Jesus ruling? Jesus is ruling the Kingdom of God. So my question is, did Jesus ever talk about the Kingdom of God? Yes, of course, he did. "The kingdom of God has come near." (Mark 1:15) Jesus also uses lines from Isaiah talking about the coming of God's long-awaited kingdom in Luke 4 and applies the sayings to himself. God seeks to resolve Israel's story by establishing God's rule on earth. By Jesus saying God was accomplishing bringing his rule and reign (the kingdom of God) in and threw himself, Jesus is proclaiming he is the gospel.
Our lesson was hard this week. It was hard simply because we had to adjust our views of God as king. We had to learn the story of God over again, but flush out the parts that show God seeking to rule over creation while partnering with humanity. The struggle we found was the language of our working gospel definition, "resolution of Israel's story." We felt that it was more that humanity's story is resolved. We had to understand that Israel's story is tied and connected directly with humanity's story. What becomes true of Israel can be true of humanity. That helped us a lot in understanding not only Jesus' role and purpose but our own.
In summary, Jesus often sees himself as the gospel. Jesus's life, death, resurrection, and ascension is seen as the resolution to humanity and specifically Israel's story. Jesus proclaimed that the signs given by the prophets that God was ruling were happening
through him and his actions. Therefore, Jesus' story is the gospel. Jesus enthroned on the cross and exalted to the right hand of the father is the language of King Jesus. To proclaim the gospel is to proclaim Jesus as king.