This past week our staff spent a day at Seton House of Prayer looking forward and refining our vision for this coming ministry year. We spent the first hour meditating on the book of 2 Timothy, Paul’s final letter to his protégé Timothy, a young pastor ministering in Ephesus. The letter is very personal, filled with Paul’s urgent wish for Timothy to continue faithfully as an effective minister of the Message of Jesus. Paul places great emphasis on the importance of words, using language related to speech, hearing, and teaching over forty times. Additionally, Paul highlights the “Good News”, employing the phrase seven times.
The Greek word evangelium is what we translate into English as “the Good News” or “Gospel”. Jesus, the Gospel writers, and Paul were very intentional in their choice of this word to describe the message of Jesus’ Kingdom. You see, when the Roman Caesar would win a battle or conquer a new country, he would issue a proclamation across his empire, saying: “This is the good news (evangelium) of Caesar . . . “. In calling his message evangelium, Jesus was making a clear statement to his first century audience that he was a King in the business of setting up his Kingdom. But Jesus’ Kingdom is completely different from the kingdom of Caesar or those set up by other earthly rulers.