The apostles experienced the person of Christ, received purification for their sins, and were strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit, which illuminated their minds. They lived in the new covenant with God, and entered new meanings into their languages that they might express their joy and gratitude, and reveal their historical experiences to men.
a) What Does the Word “Gospel” Signify?The word “Gospel” was used many ages before the birth of Christ. It signifies the good news and the good tidings.This word was originally used in the house of the Roman Caesar for official announcements, i.e. when a child was born to him, or when he won victory over the enemies; and then such good news would be spread throughout the empire by means of big signboards and exciting trumpets that everybody might enjoy and celebrate these historical occasions.The word gospel does not signify a philosophy to search, or a law to keep; but a formal public announcement of a real event, which everyone can either accept or reject.Christ and his apostles used this word, which was relevant to Caesar. They filled it with new meanings and powers, for God had worked miracles and given men unique good news, sending his Anointed One to the world, embodied in flesh. Jesus obtained victory in the decisive battle against the enemies of God (sin, death, and Satan), and established his spiritual kingdom of love. Accordingly, he told his hearers: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).God did not bring down a new book beside the Holy Scriptures, which were in the world before Christ, but he himself wanted to have his only Son become incarnate, as John the apostle confessed: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory…” Therefore, the gospel does not first signify a book, but a living person who is Christ with his life and its consequences. Everything we read in the gospel is produced from Jesus himself. The Nazarene did not only speak the word of God, but he is the word of God. Christ is our gospel.Many eyewitnesses reported about their meetings with Christ, and each of these reports is considered as good news, or a holy gospel. There are not only four gospels, but also hundreds of gospels, for each good testimony about the life and the words of Christ signifies a gospel. However, out of the evidences of eyewitness about the life of Jesus, the fathers of faith chose four distinguished gospels. They called them: The Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke, and the Gospel of John. All these gospels testify, with one accord, the greatness of the Son of Mary.On the other hand, Paul the apostle used to call his epistles, which were written before these four gospels, a gospel too, as he wrote to the Romans: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” Paul regarded his epistle about Christ as more important than all the gospels of Caesar, for Christ did not remain in the tomb like all the rulers of the world, but was risen indeed.The living Christ is not far from us. He is present with us through the words of his gospel, which contains all the powers of God. The gospel is more similar to spiritual dynamite, which is capable of changing the world.The Gospel is the place from which God speaks to us. Jesus is personally present in this book with all the potentials of salvation. He, who opens his mind to the Gospel, praying and trusting the living Christ, will be saved forever, for the words of the Gospel link the believers to the living Christ personally. Then the power of the Gospel flows into the saved ones and conforms them to the image of the merciful, meek Christ, and they become in themselves a living testimony of the power of Christ, representing a new gospel in their lives. Beside the four gospels, we acknowledge the gospel of Paul the apostle of the Gentiles, through his powerful epistles, and the gospel of the life of humble Christians. Did you become a walking gospel? Which spirit speaks out of you?