As I prepare for Good Friday and Easter, I’ve been meditating on Paul’s prologue in Romans 1. I’ve been amazed once again at my Savior and King. Interestingly, Paul seems to go on a tangent in describing the Gospel. As he does so, he pens an amazingly Christ-centered ground for the Gospel. In fact, reading this, I would even go so far as to say that Jesus IS the Gospel! Let me explain.

Paul states that he has been set apart for an apostolic mission for the Gospel of God (v.1). God promised the Gospel in the past through His prophets, who wrote down those promises in the Holy Scriptures (v.2). The promises in the Scriptures concerned God’s Son (v.3). So, by way of logic, if the Gospel was promised in the Scriptures, and the Scriptures concerned God’s Son, then the Gospel is the fulfillment of those promises in the person of the Son of God. This Son is revealed as Jesus Christ our Lord (v.4). So Jesus is the Gospel. This leads me to two questions: 1) Is Jesus qualified to be the Gospel? and 2) Why is He good news?

(1) To answer the first question, we just have to look at the text. He is God’s pre-existent Son (1:3), which does not mean that He came from some sexual union that resulted in the Son, but that the Son has a nature equal to the Father’s (cf. John 10:30), and the Son is in a position of submission to the will of the Father (cf. Ps. 110:1; John 4:34, 6:38; 1 Cor. 15:20-28; Phil. 2:6-8).

He is David’s promised Heir (1:3). When David desired to build a house for the Lord, God refused, saying that He was content to be moving in a tent with all the people of Israel at that time in God’s program. David was also disqualified because he was a warrior (cf. 1 Kings 5:3; 1 Chron. 22:2-5, 28:2). God nevertheless promised to bless David for having such a heart for Him. This included a son who will establish a kingdom, a house for God’s name, and he will rule forever in a familial relationship with God (2 Sam. 7:12-16; 1 Chron. 17:11-14). When referring to David’s son, God uses terms of eternality three times (2 Sam. 7:13, 16 twice; 1 Chron. 17:12, 14 twice). Psalm 132: 11-12 echoes the narrative accounts by saying that the LORD swore to David that his sons, if they kept God’s covenant, would sit on the throne forever.

Unfortunately, history did not look as hopeful. One by one, David’s descendants assumed the throne and defiled it with their sin. This ultimately led to the dividing of the kingdom and the people’s exile. But Paul saw in the birth of Jesus that God’s promise did not fail. He would still establish an eternal kingdom for David. He sent His eternal Son to be born in David’s line, who would perfectly keep God’s covenant and would one day return to claim His throne. Jesus is David’s promised Heir.

Jesus is our resurrected Lord. Most translations use the term “declare” for the Greek word horisthentos. But the word actually means “appointed”. This brings up a very sticky issue: did Jesus become the Son of God? I think that is why the phrase “in power” is so important. If it modifies “Son of God” (contra NIV), then it could be talking not about Jesus’ person and relation to God, but to His status and relation to mankind. The Spirit, upon Jesus’ resurrection, appointed Him to be the exalted Lord of all creation. God highly exalted Him (Phil. 2:9-11). He received all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). He sits at the right hand of God the Father, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (Eph. 1:21). This is our resurrected Lord.

(2) To answer the second question, we just need to see what Jesus accomplishes as the Gospel. Jesus provides justification before God to everyone who believes (Rom. 4:23-25). Jesus provides salvation from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9-10, 10:9). Jesus provides freedom from the curse of sin to live for God (Rom. 6:1-5, 8-11, 7:4-6). Jesus provides freedom from the curse of death (Rom. 8:9-11). Jesus provides salvation for the Jews (Rom. 10:1, 9-13). Jesus provides freedom from church tensions (Rom. 14:9-12). Jesus provides hope for all nations (Rom. 15:12). This is just a short list of what Jesus accomplishes as Christ and Lord.

So this Good Friday/Easter season, please do not neglect to praise Jesus! He is the best news we could ever receive! And don’t forget to tell others about Jesus! He is the best news for all peoples!

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