S2E5: It is Finished! (Oct. 30) ✅
Beginnings /:5:/ Remind Me Again: What is "the Gospel"?!
Nearly half of the book of John, chapters 12 – 21, is devoted to the last week of Jesus’ life. This week is marked by betrayal, pain, anguish, suffering and death. With such depressing content, why is this last week given so much attention? Why is it so important? And why do we consider it "good news"?
Scripture Covered: John 18-21
Themes: Betrayal, suffering, sacrifice, death and resurrection– all "good news"(?!)
Daily Reading Plan for this Series - totally optional... Just Show Up!
We conclude our study of the Gospel of John this week with a look at the passion narrative of Jesus– His intense suffering and His glorious resurrection, along with some final thoughts of encouragement. The prophecy of Isaiah 53:4-5 written several hundred years before John's time succinctly summarizes the purpose of this week in Jesus' life:
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. (Isa. 53)
Jesus' resurrection is the singular most important event in Christianity. It is central to our faith. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith...And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:14-17)
This week weWe are going to explore "the Gospel": what it means in a general sense, and what it means for each of us personally and individually.
Most of us are at least partially familiar with the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. The Christian community around the world commemorates it each year during the period of Lent and Easter. It's an annual celebration that helps to remind us that the story of Jesus isn't over, but is in fact just beginning.
What we have said during the past four weeks of our Devoted gatherings bears repeating in this last week of our study in John's Gospel: The Gospel of John provides a summary of the entire biblical narrative that describes God's purpose in creation, progressively revealing the person of Jesus as the central figure across the entirety of Scripture, both Old and New Testements– the Messiah, the King of humanity, the divine logos (Word), God incarnate (Emmanuel).
As the fulfillment of things promised, and the promise of things yet to come, we refer to the story of Jesus as "the Gospel". Our ministry partners at The Bible Project have created a short video explaining the origin and meaning of the term "Gospel" in order to preserve its relevance, and encourage us as we continue to explore who Jesus is, what He lived and died for, how He rose from the dead, and why this matters in our lives. Enjoy!
In our gathering this week we completed our study of John's Gospel by reviewing the passion narrative of Jesus' betrayal, trial, crucifixion, death and resurrection. With so much at stake, so much tragedy and and confusion, the disciples were overwhelmed, prompting John to remind them (and us):
"These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31)
This reminder reiterates the importance of biblical prophecy to understanding the Scriptures. The Bible is an integrated story penned by many different people, but authored entirely by God. It progressively reveals the character of God, who ultimately takes the form of a man in Jesus. Why? To reveal God's plan for humanity, which was foretold and promised long ago. We see it "finished" in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, which serves as a reminder for all time of God's love for humanity and the completion of God's plan. But now that "it is finished" what next? Now what?!
John's Gospel serves as the "book jacket summary" of the entire biblical narrative that reiterates the promise of eternal life, and inspires us to live our lives according to the model of Jesus. This is what it means to follow Him: to pursue a life motivated by love, marked by service and sacrifice. Christ's work is finished so that our work of living, learning, and loving others can begin and continue, until our days are finished and Jesus comes again.