The biblical term "gospel" means literally the good news of salvation and deliverance from all forms of human oppression through God’s grace promised by the prophets and guaranteed by the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. The message of good news includes much more than personal salvation, although you would never know it listening to most preachers. Salvation in the personal sense is the starting point from which all other forms of deliverance arise. Salvation is the beginning, not the end of God’s will for human beings.[i]
Before the Gutenberg Press, oral communication was the primary means of transferring a message. The sense of hearing was pre-eminent until the medium of print documents. The sense of seeing text on a page did not eliminate oral communication, but worked in tandem with the message. Two of our five senses are involved in message transfers- hearing and seeing. What about taste, smell and touch?
The miracle of the loaves and fish draw the hearer of Jesus’ words into a full sensory experience of Jesus’ message. Evangelism (i.e. message proclamation) is essentially a five-senses message. The messenger becomes an extension of the message.
Preaching is more than speaking and writing words—it is an entering into the experience of the hearer and demonstrating goodness that affects their suffering.
The New Testament contributor James knew about the balance between what a disciple preaches and the corresponding behaviors.
The medium of looking after orphans and widows validates the disciple’s message. Some people are deceived into thinking that the message is enough or that they can say anything in the name of religion.
May God help us to faithfully proclaim and demonstrate Jesus’ message of good news.