Please watch this great talk given by Scot McKnight from the Q Gathering 2010 on the topic, Did Jesus Preach the Gospel?.
The most influential piece of literature in the twentieth century was the gospel tract. Why? Because it reduced the gospel to sound bytes and because it has framed how many Christians now understand the gospel message. What might surprise us is that the central idea of Jesus’ teaching–the coming kingdom of God–does not appear in any of the gospel tracts. Why is that? Have we only relied on Paul’s version of the gospel? Is it possible, many are asking, to combine the gospel of Paul with the gospel of Jesus? Which leads to this question: What is the gospel? And to this one: Did Jesus himself preach the gospel or not?
McKnight makes quite a bold statement. He says when the gospel means everything, it loses all meaning. And that is what has happened in American religious circles.
McKnight tells two stories that must be heard. One is John Piper’s question: Did Jesus preach Paul’s Gospel? Piper’s conclusion is fascinating. The other is from a chance encounter with a pastor McKnight recognized who said that Jesus did not preach the gospel. In fact, this man said, no one could understand the gospel, including Jesus, until after the cross, the resurrection, and Pentecost.