We’re diving into Chapter 6 of The King Jesus Gospel: “The Gospel in the Gospels?” Two questions: 1) Where in the Bible do people look to make arguments about justification (right-standing with God)? A: Paul. 2) Where in the Bible do people look for the...
We’re diving into Chapter 6 of The King Jesus Gospel: “The Gospel in the Gospels?”
1) Where in the Bible do people look to make arguments about justification (right-standing with God)?
2) Where in the Bible do people look for the gospel?
A: The Gospels, duh.
But, as we’ve seen, it’s not all as simple as that.
Paul’s gospel is the gospel, and that gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15.
We’re pretty big on the kingdom of God around here, but we don’t look at Paul all that much to find kingdom language. Which might make you wonder, if the kingdom is the gospel, then did Paul preach the gospel? If you didn’t wonder already, then you are now.
Lots of people are big on justification (Get me right with God), but they don’t often look to Jesus to make their theological case.
So, if justification/salvation or kingdom is the gospel and Paul and Jesus only focused on one of those, who didn’t preach the gospel?
McKnight clears the air with a firm ‘neither’:
“The gospel…is declaring the Story of Israel as resolved in the Story of Jesus” (79, The King Jesus Gospel).
So instead of focusing on the confusing questions I asked, here are some better options:
“Did Jesus claim Israel’s Story was fulfilled in himself?…Did Jesus preach himself?…Did Jesus make his kingdom message center on his own role in the Story of Israel? If we answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, we are saying that Jesus preached the gospel” (79).
Why are the books we call Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John–first four books of the New Testament) called gospel, anyway? They tell the story of Israel being consummated in the story of Jesus. “To ‘gospel’ is to tell the Story of Jesus” (82).
This chapter further clarifies the difference between salvation and the gospel, even if it’s not obvious. Disconnecting justification from the gospel, doesn’t make justification unimportant, it just means it’s not gospel (by itself).
Gospel is about story–particularly the story of Jesus and the story of Israel. Sure, salvation comes into the picture and is connected with the bigger picture, but don’t mistake it for the picture.
So, the gospel is in the Gospels, because the Gospels are telling the story of Jesus, which is why they were called gospel in the first place. Got it?
Here’s maybe the most interesting part of the chapter for me: 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 could be thought of as a reduced version of the gospel Paul received and the four Gospels could be thought of as an extended commentary on that gospel (90).
The gospel (1 Cor. 15:3-5) portrays the Story of Jesus as culminating the Story of Israel, albeit in Cliff Notes form. The Gospels give you the full length director’s cut feature presentation.
In this case, it doesn’t matter which you prefer because it’s all about Jesus (and Israel).
What do you think about McKnight’s version of the gospel and the Gospels? Like it? Challenge it? I’d love to know.Share on Facebook Tweet This Pin This