I am an avid reader of N.T. Wright both for his clarity of thought and his willingness to challenge both the liberal theological establishment and conventional, 21st Century evangelicalism. Here is a quote from his latest book Surpised by Hope which is a distillation of his study on the Resurrection of Jesus, Christian hope after death, and the proclamation of the Christian Gospel.
Recently, I shared with some friends that preaching on Easter is tough. That being said, it remains important that Christians regularly reevaluate their understanding of the resurrection. It is more than simply a question of whether or not it happened but also what its happening means.
Wright is of the opinion, and I agree with him, that it means everything.
“What is more… because of the early Christian belief in Jesus as Messiah, we find the development of the very early belief that Jesus is Lord and that Caesar is not…
But already in Paul the resurrection, both of Jesus and then in the future of his people, is the foundation of the Christian stance of allegiance to a different king, a different Lord. Death is the last weapon of the tyrant, and the point of resurrection, despite much misunderstanding, is that death has been defeated. Resurrection is not a redescription of death; it is its overthrow and, with that, the overthrow of those whose power depends on it. Despite the sneers and slurs of some contemporary scholars, it was those who believed in the bodily resurrection who were burned at the stake and thrown to the lions. Resurrection was never a way of settling down and becoming respectable; the Pharisees could have told you that. It was the Gnostics, who translated the language of resurrection into a private spirituality and a dualistic cosmology, thereby more or less altering its meaning into its opposite, who escaped persecution. Which emperor would have sleepless nights worrying that his subjects were reading the Gospel of Thomas? Resurrection was always bound to get you into trouble, and it regularly did.”
-NT Wright, Surprised by Hope
Check out Bob Hyatt’s entire article here: BobBlog
HT: Bob Hyatt