The imperial roots of the Gospels…sort of

In today’s Advent reflection Bishop Robert Barron explains the roots of the word Gospel. I thought it was quite interesting and decided to share it with you:

Advent Reflection Day 18

“In Greek, the word “Gospel” is euangelion. Eu means good and angelion means tidings or message. This is where the word “angel” comes from, meaning simply “messenger.”

Now we automatically associate this word with religion, as in evangelization or evangelical. But at the time of the Gospels, the term euangelion was associated especially with military victory. It was the good news of triumph in battle. More to it, euangelion was associated with the deity and accomplishments of the emperor of Rome. By Jesus’ time, it had become a commonplace that the Roman emperor was considered a god. Thus when an emperor was installed, euangelion was proclaimed. And when the emperor would write a new law or win a military victory or in any other way assert his command, it was announced as euangelion.

So can you see how dangerous it is to announce the record of Jesus as a “gospel”? This good news has nothing to do with the Roman emperor and his army. It is proposing, in effect, a new emperor. And then for good measure, the writer Mark adds that he is writing the “gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Well, those were fighting words, for “son of God” was another title reserved for the Roman emperor.

Do you wonder now why Christians were persecuted for the first three centuries of the Church’s life? Do you wonder why every single apostle except for John was martyred? Do you wonder now why they threw Christians to wild beasts? It’s because they announced the true euangelion.

But what, or who, was this new emperor intending to fight? And what would be the nature of his military victory? John the Baptist provides us a clue. He preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But one was coming who was greater than John, one for whom John prepared the way, and that greater man would baptize in the power of the Holy Spirit. He would take on all of human sin and swallow it up in the divine mercy.

That’s the new emperor, and that’s the dangerous good news”.

Bishop Robert Barron


Robert Barron is the newly elected Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles as a great apostolate called Word On Fire. I have posted many of his videos which touches subjects from theology and arts to pop culture and movies.

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6 thoughts on “The imperial roots of the Gospels…sort of”

  1. If we have Salvation we will show we have it Calab, Jesus did not just cover our sin by His Grace, He took our sin away, we have been set free and when we are Born Again and Perfected in Love we don’t sin.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Romans 6:6- 7 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 9 ) No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.

    1 John 5:18-20 We know that no one who is Born of God sins; but He who was Born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    Romans 6:18-20 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 9 ) No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.

    1 John 5:18-20 We know that no one who is Born of God sins; but He who was Born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    1 John 3: 1-11 ( 6-7 ) Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth Righteousness is Righteous, even as He is Righteous.

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith, I know Him and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith hebideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.

    Luke 6:45-46 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

    Colossians 3:4-6 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

    2 Corinthians 7 1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, Perfecting Holiness in the fear of God.

    Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto Sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Romans 6 : 1 – 2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    1 Peter 1:21-23 Being Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

    Romans 8: 8 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. or if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    Romans 6:5-7 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

    Romans 6:22-23 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love; but perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in Love. We Love Him, because He first Loved us.

    1 Peter 2:24 Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

    Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and True Holiness.

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love; but perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in Love. We Love Him, because He first Loved us.

    Titus 2:13-15 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all Authority. Let no man despise thee.

    Colossians 1:27-29 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man Perfect in Christ Jesus Whereunto I also labour, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily(KJV)

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

    Christian Love – Anne,

      1. You would be wise Caleb if you to read the Scriptures I share, they confirm God’s Truth, not what you think or have been taught in error, It’s disobedience to say you will continue to sin…..

        Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto Sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. God tells us not to say we will sin because it’s not True when we are Born Again and perfected in Love.

        The word “Cannot” in Greek means absolutely never.

        1 John 3: 1-11 ( 9) No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he “Cannot” go on sinning, because he has been Born of God.

        Yes we are saved by Grace Caleb, Salvation is a free gift that we will show we have, first by our repentance, than by putting our Carnal flesh to death by The Spirit, yes as we choose to walk in His Fruit we are than empowered to as we aim to be Perfected in Love and when Born Again the Old has gone the New has come we no longer have Adam’s seed we have God’s and we do the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do.

        1John 3: 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.

        2 Timothy 2:19-21 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

        Wishing you Caleb and your Loved ones all the Love, Joy, Peace and Hope that Christmas brings when Jesus is our focus – Anne.

      2. Dear Anne,

        Sorry for such a late response to your comments. I read it a while ago but didn’t get around to carefully think about it until yesterday.

        I could be wrong so I need your clarification in understanding what you mean. Do you mean to say that once we are born-again we are incapable of committing any sin?

        If so, I failed to see how the scriptures you quoted support such literalistic position. For example if you read 1 John in its full context, the apostle is exhorting fellow Christians to avoid sin and walk in light with Christ:

        This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

        1 John 1:5-7

        Then he says:

        If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

        1 John 1:8-10

        To make things crystal clear about the constant need for redemption and repentance of sin he continues:

        My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

        1 John 2:1-2

        To take 1 John 3:1-11 to mean that we are incapable of sinning is to do great violence to the scripture. In this letter to fellow Christians he is constantly exhorting them to avoid sin and to walk in the path of righteousness through love for one another:

        The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

        1 John 3:24

        God give us all the necessary graces to avoid sin but he also does not take away our free will and because our human frailties that is why we are in constant need of repentance and redemption.

        This is something that we realize when we grow closer to Christ. As we grow closer to him his light start revealing to us all those things that we need to change, all those attachments that we need to loose, all those things that although minor they don’t reflect his purity and love. This is why saints through history have never claimed to be without sin and why they anxiously await heaven because only then would they be completely perfected in the image of Christ.

        Our Christian journey is arduous but beautiful even when we fall in the mud there is always that hand ready to pick up with gentleness and love.

        Thank you for the awesome note you posted earlier it brought a smile and brighten my day!!! Hope that everything is going well in the land of down under!!!

  2. Sorry Caleb my audio is not working on my Computer so my Comment is in reference to this Statement below………

    But one was coming who was greater than John, one for whom John prepared the way, and that greater man would baptize in the power of the Holy Spirit. He would take on all of human sin and swallow it up in the divine mercy.

    Some Christians believe when we are Born Again and perfected in Love we will still go on sinning till we die but are forgiven because of God’s Mercy but that is not what the Scriptures confirm as you can see from the ones I shared with you above, we do not continue to sin, if Christians do sin they are not Born Again of God’s seed, they are still in darkness but not saying they won’t be after True heart repentance and putting their Carnal flesh to death as they aim to be Perfected in Love.

    Christ- mass Love – Anne.

    1. Dear Anne,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and sorry for such a delay response. The passages that you share indicate that after we are received in the body of Christ through baptism sin has no power over us because his death and resurrection have purchase for us the regards of eternal life if we are repentant and committed to change our ways. It does not mean that we are render incapable of sinning but rather that we are given all the necessary graces to avoid sin and life a virtuous life but we HAVE to cooperate with such graces.

      The imperial evidence is all around you. We are still sinners in need of repentance, in need of his graces, in need of his love and mercy!

      I hope you have a Merry, Merry Christmas full of joy and many blessing from Christ the Lord!

      Caleb

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