In my 7th grade confirmation class, my students have had a hard time getting their heads around what the "Gospel" is. Most of the time they'll say "It's the happy part of the Bible" or "It's found mainly in the New Testament". They're not wrong, they just aren't right.
If you're new to Christianity, the idea of translation for the word "Gospel" is "The Good News" or more specifically, "The Good Message". I honestly prefer the word "message" in our context and culture of the day because nobody reads the news, they get the news when they want it, or they get it usually when it's bad news. But a text message makes all of us jump, and we get a little excited because we know it's for us... I know the text is for ME.
The Good Message is this: Jesus Christ loved me so much, that he died for my sins and rose to life to give his victory to me. He makes me his child and gives me life that will last even when my body dies, promising to make me fully human and in complete relationship with God in heaven. Or more simply. Jesus died for my sins, so that I could have eternal life and invite others to that same hope.
But today, I just want to be an encourager to remind us, as I have to remind my Catechism students, that the Good Message is found, not just in the New Testament, but it's rich and personal in the old testament too. Many of you probably already do this, but just in case you don't I want to share a guide that is helpful for me to see the Good Message throughout the Bible.
Look for anywhere that talks about things that are dead, dying or broken. They can be people, kingdoms, cultures, dreams... Look for anywhere that talks about things that are new, growing or coming to life. When you see these examples from scripture you will see the Gospel truth come to life. The following passages have been the help for me to see the story of Jesus more clearly throughout scripture and everywhere in the world, right down to my own heart:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23 (This is a great, simple packaging of the Good Message)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10 (Jesus is speaking very specifically here)
Through this lens, you start to see some beautiful applications of the Gospel in the Old Testament, stories that are often practical, personal, and transformative reminders of the stories of God's faithfulness when we believe the Good Message and put it into practice in our everyday life.