When I was planning this series, I began with the simple idea of the ABCs of the Gospel. With that in mind, I began to try and find a word that began with every letter of the alphabet. Since Lent has 40 days in it (not counting Sundays) I decided to abandon that theme. However, today’s focus is one of the ideas that I had in that initial brainstorming session.
Now that you have a little background, it would be helpful to explain what I was thinking. The Gospel’s yearning is not trying to anthropomorphize the Gospel. I am not trying to give it emotions or treat it like a person. At least not in an artificial way.
I believe that the Gospel is a message about Jesus. I believe that the message about Jesus is designed to invite sinners into fellowship with God. But there is another reality about the Gospel I think we should consider. I believe that Jesus is the Gospel.
By virtue of his incarnation, the Logos of God, the Word of God became flesh. That is the witness of John. One of the fundamental implications of this reality is that Jesus is the Gospel in the flesh.
Again, I am not trying to blur the lines of what the Gospel is or who Jesus is. I am trying to show a connection that we too often miss. Jesus is the embodiment of the message of the Gospel. The Gospel points to Jesus because Jesus is what the Gospel is hoping we all surrender to.
So, while we have been looking at the message over the last few weeks, today I want us to look at the person who is the Gospel.
And if Jesus is the Gospel, then there is a very real sense in which the Gospel has a yearning. Jesus has a desire for those who are lost. How do we know this? Because Jesus said it himself.
35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.Matthew 9:35-37 NKJV
And again in Luke, as he approached the city of God on his way to his crucifixion.
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under herwings, but you were not willing!Luke 13:34 NKJV
But there are many other places where the Scriptures share that Jesus had compassion on someone (cf.: Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 1:41; Luke 7:13; Matthew 20:34).
God desires for “all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus shares that desire. And the Gospel is the manifestation of this desire.
We may feel a little uncomfortable describing God or Jesus as having a yearning. But we should not think of this as being some kind of deficit in God. Rather it is an expression of his love for those who bear his image.
God’s love has reached out to us in Jesus. And the Gospel is the message that continually reminds us of this love.