In the last two issues we have looked at both John the Immerser’s Gospel proclamation and that of Yeshua. We found that the gospel message of both John and Yeshua was identical. They both proclaimed, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” This was their good news — their Gospel. Now, we need to take a look at the Gospel the Apostles proclaimed and compare it with that of the Gospel of John and Yeshua. We are trying to find when the gospel message began to change from the original one found with the Gospels.
This next section will look at the Apostolic Gospel. This part will be focused on Peter’s Gospel and the next will be focused on Paul. By examining both of these Apostles we should have a good overview of what the Apostles were teaching in regard to the Gospel. Let’s begin by taking a look at the good news Peter proclaimed as recorded in the book of Acts, his sermon on the Temple Mount on the day of Pentecost. Please take the time to read through Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14–41 (below) as preparation for my discussion following.
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
In this one sermon, we hear Peter honing in on several key themes he is trying to convey to his audience. He begins his message by quoting from the prophet Joel in order to show how the present time was in fact the appointed time in which God’s Spirit would be poured out “on all flesh.” He tells them that the miracles of Yeshua were the proof of this time of divine intervention. Next he connects the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua to the proof of his superiority to King David and that he was indeed the heir of King David’s throne. He attests to Yeshua’s eternal kingship and calls his audience to repentance so that they might be forgiven their trespasses by the Divine Messiah-King.
Yes, his “Gospel” was a bit lengthy, but look at the results: “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” The fruit of his “gospeling” brought about three thousand people into the Kingdom who were ready to be discipled and live out a life under the Kingship of the Messiah of Israel. His gospeling contained the central components of both John and Yeshua. He spoke both of repentance and kingship, and gave people specific instructions on what they needed to do in order to become disciples of Yeshua.
We could look at this and other Gospel messages in the New Testament at length. However, time does not permit us at the moment. But I hope you can see from these examples that the Gospel is far more robust than the watered down versions we tend to advance in our churches. I pray that through this teaching the Gospel will become larger in your life. I pray that Yeshua’s message of the Kingdom would rise up within you “like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
May the Gospel of our risen Messiah come to life in you and produce a harvest of righteousness from this world to the world-to-come. Shalom!