One final text for this week on gospel, and it is potent one:
Luke 16:16 ?The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
Here’s the Matthew 11 parallel:
11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears, let him hear.
There’s a basic timeline here:
Law/Prophets –> John and Gospel of Kingdom: Met by opposition
We learn something here: the “gospel” is something Jesus sees originating in some important sense with John the Baptist, which draws us back to Luke 3, where John’s preaching and calls to repentance (concrete economic transformation) are sketched. This gospel in some sense turns history from the adequacy of the Law and Prophets.
Kingdom gospel preaching encounters opposition by those — like Herod Antipas who decapitated John — who hear it and resist it. That preaching involves economic justice and moral transformation (Torah observance is what John used against Herod Antipas).