Any searching of the meaning of “gospel” in the Bible will find rich fertile ground in the glorious infancy chapters of Luke 1–2. So, I begin with one such text in Luke 1 — this one about Gabriel, Zechariah, Elizabeth, and John Baptist.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: ?Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous?to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.? 18 Zechariah asked the angel, ?How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.? 19 The angel answered, ?I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.”
What is the good news/gospel news that Zechariah hears?
1. The prayer of the aged priest for a child has been heard by God.
2. They will give birth to little Yohanan — who will be a delight for all.
3. The good news includes Yohanan’s Nazirite-like vows of asceticism.
4. Yohanan will be filled with God’s Spirit.
5. Yohanan will lead many Israelites to repent.
6. He will be Elijah-like or the second Elijah.
If I chose one expression for the gospel Zechariah heard it would be: the advent of Israel’s restoration through his about-to-be-born son, Yohanan.