There are two questions given to us in the Bible that not only show what the gospel is, but also what we are to do once we hear the gospel.
Who do you say I am?
Jesus asked this of his disciples and variations of this question were asked and answered by various people in the accounts of Jesus’s life. It remains the most important question that can be answered by a human.
The correct answer is given by Simon Peter, recognized by most as the leader of the disciples, “You are the Christ”. If you’ve never heard this before, a little explanation is needed.
The Christ is the anointed messenger, the one appointed to be a savior for the Jews. The Christ is also prophesied to be a covenant for the people, to bring salvation and forgiveness of sins, and to redeem Israel from its sin. Jesus Christ does all of this, and more, just as was written of Him.
Why would the Jews need saving? Simply put, they had sinned against God. They knew that God is the Creator. They knew that man had been made sinless, but had fallen in sin, and that all humanity is guilty of sin. They knew that with sin, no one could enter God’s presence nor receive the inheritance given to those who obeyed God. They knew that God commanded them to “be holy, as I am holy.” And they knew they weren’t holy.
They knew because God had revealed His law to them, and they were constantly giving sacrifices for forgiveness of sin. They knew because they did not reign over the land promised to their fathers on condition of Israel being faithful to God.
The Christ, or Messiah, was to remedy all of this and to restore the land and the throne to Israel.
He did. Just not as they imagined it.
Jesus Christ is the anointed One, the Messiah. He is “the bread of life”, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, “One with the Father”. He is one who has a “kingdom not of this world”, and who “lays down his life” for sinners. He is the eternal King. He is one who is without sin, born of a virgin.
This Christ is arrested by the Jews, taken to the Roman authorities, and crucified on false charges. He is buried in a tomb. And on the third day, He rose again to life. He ascended to heaven where He sits, enthroned.
We are all sinners- just like the Jews to whom Christ came. We are unholy, unworthy to be in God’s presence. We are all to be cast away into the outer darkness because of our sins. We are lost.