Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Gospel 2

posted by xscot mcknight

We turn today to Isaiah in our study of the word “gospel.”
We notice today once again that “good news” is a verbal announcement; it is announced to those who are awaiting on God for justice; and it declares such things as “Here is your God!” and peace and salvation; and it focuses on the poor and marginalized.
Is. 40:9 Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
?Here is your God!?

Is. 41:27 I first have declared it to Zion,
and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings.
Is. 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, ?Your God reigns.?
Is. 60:6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.
s. 61:1 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;



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T

posted September 23, 2008 at 7:07 am


Obviously, Jesus saw a strong connection to this last passage, at least, to his own work and mission.
On this, “They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.” Do you see this proclaimation of praise as gospel, or as the verbal response (by non-jews, “they”) to it–the echo of it, that the God of Israel reigns, and is worthy of worship and service? I’ve tended to read it as the latter–as an agreement/confirmation by the nations that Israel’s God is King of all.



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John Frye

posted September 23, 2008 at 7:43 am


I think the concept of *shalom* deeply enriches “gospel” (Isa. 52:7). Peter reports to Cornelius (Acts 10:36), “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the *good news of peace* through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” See also Isaiah 9:6 and Luke 2:13-14 regarding *shalom.*



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T

posted September 23, 2008 at 8:49 am


John,
I agree. One also gets the sense from this OT ‘gospel’ (and certainly also from the magnificat, from the Lazarus parable, from the blesseds & woes, etc.) that just as the gospel is “good news” for those that have not received mercy from men, it is also a warning of judgment for those who continue to withhold it.
Also, it seems “help” or “rescue” from God is also a key part of the ‘good news’ in this passage (from “announces salvation”). It seems important in our day to note that this ‘rescue’ isn’t narrowed to life after death.



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Travis Greene

posted September 23, 2008 at 9:24 am


So what does “announcing good news” look like today? Do we, as so many evangecube types seem to think, have to tell people bad news first (“Hi, you don’t know me, but you’re going to hell!”) before we can announce good news? Or is God’s good news an answer to the bad news the world already knows?
To put it another way, since the problems of the world are largely the same as in Jesus or even Isaiah’s time (sickness, war, poverty, oppression of the poor by the rich, greed, violence, sexual irresponsibility, grudge-holding) can’t we just assume that most people know the bad news, and get on with announcing the good rule of God through Jesus?



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T

posted September 23, 2008 at 1:15 pm


Travis,
I think that’s a great question. At least at this point in the study, I think it’s fair to say that an understanding of the afterlife is not necessary to appreciate “the good news” that Isaiah is talking about.



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Ron Newberry

posted September 23, 2008 at 1:55 pm


Tavis, I am glad you wrote what you did. It’s about time someone said that. Wonderful post.



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Bob Robinson

posted September 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm


Isaiah 52:7 seems to indicate that the good news of salvation is that God is Lord. This fits into the NT definition of the Gospel – which I like to state as “Jesus is Lord.”



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Anonymous

posted September 23, 2008 at 11:25 pm


Linkathon 9/24 « BrianD blog

[...] Scot McKnight is studying the word ‘gospel’, part 1 and part 2, with subsequent posts at his blog. McKnight also reviews Rob Bell’s latest book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians. [...]



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T

posted September 24, 2008 at 7:18 am


Bob,
I agree totally. What do you take these “Lord” accolades to mean? I tend to think of “Jesus is Lord” chiefly as a statement about power and rightful position relative to others. Is there another aspect to this statement that is critical to hearing it properly?



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Travis Greene

posted September 24, 2008 at 10:11 am


Well, surely part of what “Jesus is Lord” means is “Jesus is MY Lord”, and that Caesar, sex, America, democracy, money, power, etc. are not.



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T

posted September 24, 2008 at 11:54 am


Travis,
Agreed. (Have I mentioned that I am thrilled about this series?)
Though, of course, leaving the “my” out makes a claim not only on the speaker (which is definitely part of what Isaiah is saying), but on everyone and everything, which all the passages we’ve looked at so far affirm. There is a strong “govern yourselves accordingly” statement implied by these statements about who is “Lord”. Which, then begs the really interesting question, how should we govern ourselves if Jesus of Nazareth is Lord? . . . But I don’t want to get too far ahead of the posts.



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Travis Greene

posted September 25, 2008 at 1:10 pm


Yeah, I like this “Hey, let’s just look at every use of a given phrase or idea in Scripture” idea.
And of course saying “Jesus is Lord” is not only about him being “my” Lord. Declaring Jesus as Lord certainly should provoke the question, “Well, what does he want? What kind of Lord is he?”
Here’s a question. Does Isaiah see war and peace as a zero-sum game? In other words, does the messenger who announces peace and salvation for God’s people also announce violence and wrath for everybody else? Similarly, does “good news for the oppressed” mean “bad news for the oppressors”? I think there’s a deeper reconciliation available in the New Testament (though it contains plenty of woe to the rich and powerful), but is the OT still thinking is “us vs. them” terms?



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T

posted September 25, 2008 at 3:15 pm


Travis,
Another good question. From what I can tell from Isaiah (and the NT, for that matter), there is a both/and at work here. There are, in Isaiah and the NT, people within and outside of Judaism that will be blessed by the coming king, and those in both camps who will be cast out of his presence for unwillingness to receive him as king. I tend to think of the opportunity of amnesty, provision, and learning how to cooperate with God, etc. (i.e., “entering the kingdom”) as being universal in scope, as with the “command” to stop trusting violence, oppression, money, etc., and to take God up on his offer. To the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.
But this opportunity itself creates another set of questions. What about those that refuse it? Like you said, who is this king? What does he want? Why should I yield to him, trust him, obey him? Is he smart? Is he powerful? How does he use his power? What if my life and ways are working for me? What if I don’t want to enter God’s kingdom, where generosity is the norm? I think there’s something here about God giving (more and more) grace to the humble, and (eventually) not wasting more of it on those that only produce thorns with his gracious resources. Basically, we either take advantage of the offer of amnesty and learn to cooperate with the rightful king of heaven and earth, or cease to be welcome in heaven or earth (for Jew and Gentile).



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Anonymous

posted September 26, 2008 at 2:32 am


In the Blogosphere « Kingdom People

[...] Meanwhile, in another part of the blogosphere, Scot McKnight has begun a series looking at how the word “gospel” is used throughout the Bible. See how the word is used in the psalms, in Isaiah, Luke 1, and Luke 2. [...]



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Travis Greene

posted September 26, 2008 at 9:20 am


T,
I’m not crazy about the language of “cease to be welcome in heaven or earth”. I’d phrase it more like Lewis (I really quote him too much), “If we can’t learn to eat the only food the universe grows, we will eternally starve.” Generally I think you’re right.



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