Series on MarkThe “gospel” (“euangelion” in the Greek) is so much more than a book. In fact, it wasn’t until the second century of the Christian era that the word “gospel” began to be associated with a book. The “gospel” is “good news,” but it is much more than that. In first century Rome it was used in reference to “good tidings” from the battlefield. When the Roman troops defeated their enemies, “good tidings” were sent home in advance of the troops – thanks to the emperor, there would be a time of peace and prosperity.

Mark begins his book by immediately introducing us to the “euangelion” and it is so much more than you and I usually think. Yes, God has a wonderful plan for your life. Yes, you no longer have to face a Christ-less eternity. Yes, because of the gospel now you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother, but is that all?

“The beginning of the euangelion of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” Those are the crisp and powerful words that open the book of Mark. Some Bible students, myself included, would translate the word “beginning” as “rule” or “norm.” It often refers to a yardstick, a plumb line. Mark is referring to good news of all good news – the act of God in bringing salvation to all of humanity through His Son, Jesus, the Messiah. And that is the “good news” he is talking about. That is the “rule” against which all other glad tidings must from now on be measured. That is God at His absolute best, performing the act of salvation in the Person of His Son.

This is like saying that after this good news all other pieces of information that could previously have been called “good news” are no longer deemed worthy of being described that way. The Kingdom of God was dawning. There is now among us one who can command evil spirits to leave. He can heal the sick. He can grow limbs. He can teach with authority. He can forgive sins.

And His message was meant for everyone. God’s forgiveness was for all. Those who would previously not be able to sit at a table to eat a meal together could now do so with the blessings of the Messiah. Sinners now had the possibility of approaching God with a cleansed heart. The enmity between man and God, man and man, man and animal, man and nature was forever obliterated in Christ. The Kingdom of God was coming!

That is good news, nothing less than a radical call to obedience and discipleship under the tutelage of the Christ who will bring all of this to completion one day at the end of the age. This was not any ordinary headline. It was news of seismic proportions, the tsunami of all breaking news – that God was saving sinners like you and me. Imagine that.

It’s news like this that can still warm our hearts on days such as the ones we are experiencing today – full of violence, hatred, and senseless killing. There is a day coming and it will hopefully be soon. Hold on to that “rule.” The world will never hear headlines quite like this one: God is saving sinners through Jesus Christ and I am at the top of that list. Good news: God saved ME!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA