Some of the texts in the Gospels about the “gospel” don’t tell us enough to help us define what how the NT authors understand the “gospel.” So, I’ll gather together three texts (and their parallels) because each assumes we know what it means.
1 One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2 ?Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,? they said. ?Who gave you this authority??
9 ?You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
6 ?Leave her alone,? said Jesus. ?Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.?
First, we are to assume the meaning of this term: gospel means in each of these texts what readers of the these texts and what Jesus meant by the term up to this point in his earthly life.
Second, what was that? That the long-awaited covenant promises of God were now becoming reality, that Israel’s God will be what YHWH said he would be: “I will be their God, they will be my people,” that the kingdom of God — the restoration expectation and making the world right and creating the society in which God’s will is done — was now at work, and that Jesus himself is the door into this society.
This is what Jesus was preaching, this is what the followers/disciples were to announce to the Gentiles, and this is what was to be announced when people told the story of the woman who anointed Jesus.