Do you know the difference between "the gospel" and "the Gospels"?
In our 2020 Southwest Bible Project we have been immersed this past week (and will be this coming week) in the story of Jesus. While the whole Bible contains the over-arching story of God that we live in, there are four books of the Bible that contain the climactic moment within that story, and that is the story of Jesus.
These four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), that all tell the same story, are called "The Gospels". They read in part as historical biographies, taking us from his birth, through his life, to his all-important death, and then to his even more important resurrection.
I'll unpack this a bit more today in our teaching, but the word "gospel" means "good news". And since what is contained in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the best news in the world for the broadest audience possible, it makes sense that these books would be called "The Gospels".
What has become known to us as "the gospel" - while it is contained in the Gospels - is a bit different. And there are 2 pieces to it that I want you to know.
There is the gospel story, and then there is the gospel meaning or message.
The gospel story is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. And of all of the important stories there are to know from scripture, this story is of first importance. You can check out Paul's opinion on this in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11.
The gospel meaning or message is a bit broader. What is the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus? What does it mean? What does it mean for us? What does it mean for the world? What does it mean for eternity?
And the answer to those questions are legion. There is only one gospel story, but its implications are many. And they are all, as you might expect, very, very good.
That is partly why there are four Gospels, rather than just one. Each author of each story had a specific audience in mind, and a specific message to share, and they recorded the story of Jesus to accomplish that.
I hope you'll spend your lives getting to know Jesus and all of the "good" in his news for the rest of your lives.