What's the gospel?
2. Jesus Christ brings peace to those with faith.
Arguably this is the earliest definition of the gospel in the Bible, as it makes its first clear appearance not in the New Testament but in the Old: "How delightful it is to see approaching over the mountains the feet of a messenger who announces peace, a messenger who brings good news [gospel], who announces deliverance, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!' " (Isa. 52:7; see also Rom. 10:15; Eph. 6:15).
The Hebrew word for "peace" in Isaiah 52:7 is the familiar word shālōm. The meaning of shālōm extends far beyond the English word "peace." Shālōm in its broadest possible conception is wholeness or completeness. In politics it is peace; in the human body it is health; in relationships it is mutual friendliness, loyalty, and respect; in any situation it is goodness to the nth degree.
The gospel is that this kind of peace, shālōm-peace, has been brought into the world by Jesus Christ.
In his Gospel, Luke kicks off Jesus' ministry in the synagogue at Nazareth, where Jesus reads another prophecy of Isaiah (61:1-2): "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news [gospel] to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus brings wholeness to those who are lacking something: the poor, the captive, the blind, and the oppressed, physically, materially, economically, politically, socially, morally, and spiritually. Jesus brings wholeness to the whole human person. These are "the unfathomable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8).
Jesus not only announces peace but enacts it. Summarizing his ministry, he tells John the Baptist in one breath that "The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them" (Matt. 11:5). Jesus' gospel-preaching announces shālōm, and his healing makes shālōm in people's bodies.
The shālōm-peace that Jesus announced and demonstrated in his earthly ministry is to be completed in the age to come. The gospel is that God's great Sabbath-rest of peace is out there, just a bit down the road, and if we hold on to our faith in God while we still do not see it, we will someday inherit it (Heb. 4:1-6). It is no surprise that faith is essential to enter into eternal peace, because Jesus consistently required faith for people to receive physical peace (health) from him in this life.
The gospel of peace and the gospel of the kingdom are closely connected. The reestablished reign of the true King is what establishes peace. "[God] . . . proclaim[ed] the good news of peace through Jesus Christ," namely that "he is Lord of all" (Acts 10:38).
Beginning in this age and concluding in the age to come, Jesus Christ brings peace to those with faith. That is good news.