On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered , they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again. Then they remembered his words.” (Luke 24:1-8)
What is the Gospel message? First, I will tell you what it is not.
It is not a promise that all your problems will go away. It is not a ticket to a peaceful, trouble-free existence. It doesn’t mean exemption from hard times, sickness, or injustice.
Jesus said, in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” If it were, Jesus would have appeared to Pilate, the Sanhedrin, the Roman political leaders, and a host of others. He would have regrouped and carried on his earthly ministry. Instead he appeared to a small band of followers, instructed them to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name, and then ascended into heaven.
So, what exactly is the Gospel message? The Gospel is God’s plan from eternity past to save sinners from His wrath that is to come. Why is it coming? Because, at our core, we are a rebellious and sinful people. Even our most noble intentions are mixed with evil motives. God’s testimony of the human heart is that every inclination is evil from childhood (Genesis 8:21) and it is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). And a holy God cannot overlook evil. He must judge it. The good news is that God has made a way for guilty sinners to escape His wrath. For those in Christ, not a drop remains. God poured it all out on Jesus at Calvary. And in so doing, He removed the chasm that once existed between a Holy God and sinful man. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). God cancels the record of charges against guilty sinners and takes it away by nailing it to the cross. And now sinful men and women are clothed with the righteousness of Christ which comes through faith (Philippians 3:9).
One day, you and I will die. These earthen vessels will waste away. But when the power of God raised Jesus from the dead, it was a promise to all made righteous through faith in Christ. We will rise and say, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O grave, is your sting?”(1 Corinthians 15:55). Those in Christ will be raised in honor, glory, and power. All indwelling sin and corruption will be completely removed, and we will be like Jesus, in a glorified state. We will spend eternity in His presence where we will worship and know everlasting joy.
This is our hope, and apart from it there is no other.