By Ken Blue
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;” Mark 1:1.”Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,” Mark 1:14.
The story is told of a family who had a litter of new puppies. A sign was posted which read, “Catholic puppies for sale; $10.00 each.” A few days later, a new sign replaced the older one, it read, “Baptist puppies for sale; $20.00 each.” A man stopped and said, “Last week you called them Catholic puppies, now you call them Baptist; Why the change?” “Well,” said the owner, “This week they got their eyes open.”
When we hear a word, certain pictures come to mind. For example, when I say automobile, airplane, baptism, or gospel; you get a mental equivalent. Try it; you will see. However, your image may not match my intended use of the word. Only by understanding the context in which I use it, can you see what I mean.
For example, the word “gospel” in our text, means “good news.” But, what is the message of that good news?
I. WE KNOW THE DEATH OF CHRIST IN NOT PART OF THIS GOSPEL-
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Matthew 16:21-22.
a. Notice that Jesus began to teach His disciples that He must die. “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples…” This shows that Jesus had not taught it till then, nor did anyone understand it.
b. Notice that Peter sees this teaching incompatible with their gospel. “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee”
c. Notice that they did not understand Old Testament prophecies of Messiah’s death. “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death:.” Luke 18:31-33.
d. Peter’s denial shows their ignorance of His upcoming death. “But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. Mark 14:68.
So, we know John, Jesus and the Twelve preached the gospel; we also know that it did not contain one word concerning His dying for man’s sin. That ought to be evident, But most Baptist never understand its implication.
II. WE KNOW HIS BURIAL AND RESURRECTION WAS NOT PART OF THEIR GOSPEL- Again, our text makes it clear that John, Jesus, and the Twelve preached the gospel in the four gospels.
a. Notice that His resurrection was not part of their gospel. “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Matthew 16:21.
b. Notice that they had no knowledge of his upcoming death, burial and resurrection. “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Luke 18:31-34. Notice carefully verse 34. They could not have been preaching what they did not understand or believe. Yet, they preached a gospel.
c. Notice that the preparation of His body showed that they did not believe His upcoming resurrection. “Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” John 19:40. They would not go to the effort if they expected His resurrection. Yet, they had heard His gospel.
d. Notice that the concern of the women was who could roll the stone away from the tomb. “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. ..3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” Mark 16:1,3. If they expected His resurrection, they would not be coming to anoint His body or be concerned about the stone.
c. Notice the unbelief of the eleven when the Mary Magdalene brought news of His resurrection. “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.” Mark 16:9-11. Now, we can’t expect that the Twelve preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and then all of them changed their theology! Yet, they preached the gospel.
d. Notice that Thomas did not believe the report of the other disciples. “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:24-25. Are we to believe that Thomas preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for sin, and now he is an unbeliever?
e. Notice that Jesus rebuked sharply the eleven for their unbelief. “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”. Mark 16:14.
SUMMATION: 1. We know that no one understood or preached that Jesus must die. 2. We know that none understood or preached His resurrection. 3. We know that their reaction to His death was one of discouragement, and to His resurrection; doubt and unbelief. 4. We know from Luke 18 that He explained it and they understood none of it. Therefore, we know that none of them preached the gospel of His death, burial, and resurrection in any manner.
Now the key is in the context as used by John, Jesus, and the Twelve in the four gospels and early Acts period. Notice the text again. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;” Mark 1:1.”Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,” Mark 1:14.
The “good news” was that the King and the Kingdom was at their doorstep. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:1-2. “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17. Have you ever wondered why no Baptist preacher gives this kind of invitation? The reason is clear; the kingdom is not at hand. It has been rejected by Israel and is now in abeyance.
Finally, notice the very first question by the Twelve, after Jesus resurrection. “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6. Were they wrong to expect the Kingdom? No; they had every right to expect it. He spent 40 days with them; do you think He explained to them that Israel would reject their message of the resurrected King? The answer is no. Did He explain that He would build a new thing, called the church, the body of Christ? Again, the answer is no. Did He commission them to go and start Baptist churches? Our final answer is no. He spoke only of those things concerning the coming Kingdom.
So, you see. The Word of God must be rightly divided and so must the words. The good news we preach today, is that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and is alive to save all who come to Him in faith. That is GOOD NEWS! Sadly, most Christians are led to believe that the gospel in four gospels and early Acts is the same gospel preached today. It could not have been.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.