The gospel: Jesus came to earth to die and to rise again.

But what about all the stuff Jesus did before he died, which the four gospels tell us about? Is that part of the gospel, or just the backdrop for the real gospel?

According to N.T. Wright, in his recent talk on How God Became King: Why We've All Misunderstood the Gospels, the gospels are entirely about the gospel. They present us with a unified story of Jesus' ministry, death and resurrection. It is the story of How God became King, a story with four strands...

  1. The story of Jesus as the story of Israel. God called Israel to be his means of rescue, and the climax is reached as Israel's Messiah becomes the world's King [from 19:40].
  2. The story of Jesus as the story of Israel's God, the self-giving, covenant-keeping Creator [from 26:40].
  3. The story of Jesus as the story of how the church was founded, as part of God's plan, as King, to renew the world through his renewed, cross-bearing people [from 34:30].
  4. The story of Jesus as the story of how Israel's God defeated the powers of the world, and the dark power that stands behind them all. Jesus is enthroned, and Caesar and all other powers (earthly and demonic) are dethroned [from 39:20].

N.T. Wright - January Series 2012 from Calvin College on Vimeo.

Hat tip: Steve Bishop.