After continuing all night in prayer, Jesus chooses twelve of His disciples that would go on to be the foundation of the church, the carriers of the Gospel, and the definitive eyewitnesses of all that Jesus said and did when He was among us. This episode looks at the lists of the Twelve from the Gospels and the book of Acts, where we can see that the authors carefully preserved the names of these men.
What is the “Gospel” or “Good News” the Bible talks about? And why is it associated with references to a “kingdom”? If you’ve ever wondered these things, take a look at this short video by The Bible Project.
The Good News of the Kingdom of God is a central theme throughout the Bible and it is a key to understanding the role of Christ then and now.
The guys at The Bible Project explain, “In Isaiah 52 a messenger comes to tell the good news that God still reigns and that he is coming to bring his reign to earth. This video explores how Jesus saw himself as that messenger and as the King.”
This is so important you might want to watch it a couple times.
There’s this beautiful poem. It’s in the book of Isaiah. The city of Jerusalem has
just been destroyed by Babylon, a great kingdom in the north, and all of these
Jewish people, they’ve been sent away into exile, but a few remained in the
city. And they are left wondering: “What just happened? Has our God abandoned us?”
Right, because Jerusalem was supposed to be the city where God would reign over
the world to bring peace and blessing to everyone. Now Isaiah had been saying
that Jerusalem’s destruction was a mess of Israel’s own making. They had turned away
from their God, become corrupt, and so their city and their temple were
destroyed. Everything seems lost. But the poem goes on. There is a watchman on the city
walls and far out on the hills we see a messenger, and he’s running towards the
city. He’s running and shouting “Good news!” and Isaiah says: “How beautiful upon the
mountains are the feet of those who bring good news.”
Beautiful feet? Yes, the feet are beautiful because they’re carrying a beautiful
message. What’s the message? That despite Jerusalem’s destruction, Israel’s God
still reigns as King. And that God Himself is going to, one day, return to
this city, take up his throne and bring peace. And the Watchmen sing for joy
because of the good news that their God still reigns. Now in the New Testament we
find this same phrase “the good news”. It’s the Greek word Euangelion and it’s
also sometimes translated with the word “Gospel”. Yeah, so when Christians say, “Do you
believe the gospel?” they mean “Do you believe the news?” But not just any news.
In the Bible, this phrase is always about the announcement of the reign of a new
king and in the New Testament, the Gospels use this phrase to summarize all of
Jesus’s teachings. They say that he went about proclaiming the good news of God’s
kingdom. So Jesus saw himself as the messenger, bringing the news that God
reigns. Yes, but the way that he described God’s reign
surprised everybody. I mean, think, powerful successful Kingdom. It needs to
be strong, able to impose its will, able to defeat its enemies, but Jesus said the greatest
person in God’s kingdom was the weakest. The one who loves and who serves the
poor. And he said that you live under God’s reign when you respond to evil by
loving your enemies and forgiving them and seeking peace. This is an upside down
Kingdom. Now Jesus also said that this kingdom was arriving with him. Yes, so for
example, there is this really interesting story where there’s a high-ranking Roman
officer and he comes to Jesus begging him to heal his servant and he even
calls Jesus his Lord acknowledging that Jesus is his authority. Jesus praises this
man for recognizing what no one else yet had, that not only was Jesus
announcing God’s kingdom. He was the King. And so, the word gets out that this Jewish man
from Galilee is talking and acting like he’s the king of Israel. He’s appointing
twelve disciples which are an image of Israel’s twelve tribes. He’s healing people,
forgiving people their sins. And all of this so
threatened israel’s leaders that they finally decided to have him killed.
And Jesus let them. Which is a weird thing to do if you’re trying to become king.
That’s right, but for Jesus this is what had to happen.
Jesus saw the sin and the devastation of His people of Israel as just one small part of the entire human condition.
How all humanity has rebelled against God resulting in the tragedy and devastation
of our whole world. So how is God going to bring his reign over such a world? Jesus
believed it would be through an act of sacrificial love for his enemies.
This is why in the Gospels Jesus’ crucifixion is depicted as his
enthronement as the King of the Jews.
He receives a crown. He also receives a robe. He is exalted up not on to a throne, but
onto the cross. “How beautiful are the feet that bring good news”. And the good news
now is that Jesus has defeated death and that he reigns as King. That he’s dealt
with our sin and corruption himself and that he’s conquered it with his life and
with his love. And then Jesus sends his followers to go out and keep announcing
this good news of the upside down kingdom. And to invite everyone to give
their allegiance to him, the king who defeated death with his love.
Thanks for watching this channel. We do this because we believe the Bible as one unified
narrative believes in Jesus, and has profound wisdom for the modern world, so we’re making
different video series. Some that walk people through the design and message of
books of the Bible or whole sections of the Bible.
We also do series that take one biblical theme and trace that to the
whole narrative part of the Bible, kinda like the one you just watched, and we have
a lot more series coming up that we have planned. The Bible Project is possible
because of your support. Some people give one time gifts and there’s a growing
number of monthly supporters as well and we’re all behind this we want to make
these videos free and available to anyone anywhere.
Yes, so you can join us, be a part of this. Go to jointhebibleproject.com. You can
give there. There is also downloadable stuff, like full res videos and
study guides, posters… It’s all for free and it’s all because of your support, so thanks a lot.
Can we have confidence in the authenticity of our Bibles? Do we know who really authored them? Many critics try to assault the authenticity of the Bible by undermining the authorship of books of the Bible. So let’s bring in an expert to examine this issue. Dr. Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary answers the question, “Did Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John actually author the gospel accounts?”
Another feature in gospel studies that is often raised is the idea that the authors
who are associated with the gospels did not really write the gospels that they are associated
with. The claim is Matthew did not write Matthew; John did not write John; Mark did not write
Mark; and Luke did not write Luke. The claim is made – and this is correct – that no
gospel names its author. This is true. If you read through any of the four gospels,
at no point do we get something similar to the Pauline letters’ “Paul, a slave of
Jesus Christ, writing to…” We do not have anything like that in the gospels. So we have
to reconstruct who the author is. We look at how far back this gospel tradition goes.
We know that the claims associated with it reach at least to the latter part of the 2nd
century because Irenaeus mentions the four gospels and gives their names as Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John. But is he right? We actually know from the reports we get from
Eusebius about Patheos that these associations go back to somewhere between the latter part
of the 1st century and the beginning part of the 2nd century – within a couple of
decades of when these gospels were actually written. Patheos reports on Mark being associated
as the interpreter of Peter; Matthew being a writer of a gospel in the Hebrew dialect
in a Hebrew context; Luke being the writer of his gospel; and John being associated with
the fourth gospel. So these take us pretty far back. How about we consider the alternative
model? The alternative model suggests that the names we attach to these gospels are attached
to them in order to raise the status of the gospel in question. In other words, rather
than have it be anonymous, attach the authorship to the name of a luminary – someone who
will bring credibility to this work – and thereby undergird and support the testimony
in what is really an anonymous gospel. Does this model work? Consider the two gospels
associated with figures not recognized to be apostles – Mark and Luke. Mark. Think
about Mark’s résumé. His ‘curriculum vitae’, if you will. His CV is that he did
not make it through the first missionary journey. He went home to his mom because the pressure
got to be too much for him. Second part of his CV is that he caused a split between Paul
and Barnabas before they went out in ministry. So does this sound like a figure you are going
to commend as the author to undergird the support of a gospel? Remember, if it the author
is unknown, then the name is ‘X’, so you can put anyone in there that you want. Yet
Mark goes in there. Mark does not commend himself as a luminary who can lift up the
credibility of a gospel. Some people suggest that it was not just Mark; but since he was
connected to Peter, it is really Peter who is behind this gospel. That would be interesting.
If you could put in any name for ‘X’, including an apostle (like the claim for Matthew
and John), then why not put Peter in there? That would solve your credibility problem
instantly. The gospel tradition does not do that. It makes it very clear that Mark is
responsible for the gospel, but he interacted with Peter in producing it. It seems to me
that this gives evidence that the gospel tradition is trying to be very careful about how it
states its origins, and does not ‘jump the gun’ in terms of credibility. Luke is often associated with the third gospel
and presented as Paul’s representative. So the third gospel is usually associated
with Paul in one way or another. Again, think through the candidates of who could go in
the ‘X’ slot for the author or than Luke. Who else worked with Paul that could give
that gospel potential credibility? Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, Silas, Apollos, etc. There
are numerous people who have a stronger background to lift up the credibility than Luke. He was
basically was an unknown disciple – who may have been a doctor in the background – about
whom we know very little else. So does the alternative theory that suggests a lifting
up of the luminary in the ‘X’ slot actually work? When we take a close look at it, the
answer is no; that theory really does not work. The question is then raised, “Why
are these somewhat obscure figures, some with questionable histories, being associated as
the authors of these works?” It is more likely that it is because the tradition knew
something about the authorship of these books, and that is what was passed on.