The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
I. Our first theme is the GOSPEL.
1. What is the gospel?
(1) That the word, both in Greek and English, originally means good news, glad tidings. Gospel is good news in the same sense that it was good news when you heard of the recovery of a parent or child.
(2) That it is good news from God to man — from heaven to earth — from the infinitely holy to the lowest depths of human wretchedness and sin. It is not good news from America to Europe; it is a voice from heaven, breaking through the silence or discord of our natural condition. Oh, could the tumult of this life cease to fill our ears, we might hear another sound — good news from God to each of us.
(3) That it is good news in relation to your sins, salvation, and eternity. It remedies the greatest evils and supplies the deepest wants of man.
2. Whose gospel it is. It is not an impersonal or abstract gospel; it is not the gospel of a man, nor yet of a distant God; it is the gospel born of God and man; it is described as the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
(1) It is "the gospel of Jesus," that is, the good news of a Saviour.
(2) But it is also the gospel of Christ: the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King of His people.
(3) But who is sufficient for these things, or who is equal to the great work shadowed forth by these titles? The necessity of a Divine Person to assume this trust is evident from the nature of the trust itself; the Son of God is the Saviour and Prophet.
II. THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL.
1. Where did it begin of old?
(1) That the gospel as a message of salvation may be said to have begun in the eternal counsel of the Divine will; in the eternal purpose of the God who sent it. We must not regard the gospel as a sort of after thought to make good the failure of another method of salvation.
(2) That the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ was not in the New Testament, but in the Old; it began in the simple first promise to our first parents.
(3) The gospel may be said to have had a new beginning in the preparatory ministry of John the Baptist.
2. Where does this gospel begin now?
(1) That it begins for the most part in religious education — in the simple teaching at maternal knees.
(2) In the moving of the Holy Spirit.
(3) There are providential recommencements of the gospel both to communities and to individuals.
(J. A. Alexander, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;