NT Wright 52111 The Kingdom and the Cross
We've not simply misread the Gospels but we've made them ordinary.
Through them, we can gain new life and new vocation.
Worldview is not what you look at but what you look through (Lee's Constantinian Cataract)
A Kingdom without a cross is no kingdom at all.
Theology is not the same thing as religion.
A great deal of the New Testament is about how to live together in this new community.
Some people say that what Jesus promised never arrived and it's the church's responsibility to make that happen (triumphalism)
The critical scholarship of the last two hundred years was to perpetuate the separation of politics and religion
Many western Christians would be happy to let Jesus have authority in Heaven but not Earth, as opposed to what Jesus says in Matthew 28.
Jesus's resurrection was not to prove that there is a heaven and we're going there. Jesus is Alive again, therefore God's new creation has begun, Jesus is the Lord of it, and we have a vocation to bring about that New Creation into the world.
The church has been responsible for muddle and wickedness, but also for hope, charity, and beauty and love.
The enlightenment has a rival eschatology to promote. World history turned the corner sometime in the 1700s and everything before was superstition. Through this Christianity is downgraded from an eschatology to a religion.
There have been Christians who haven't allowed the world to silence them: Wilberforce, Tutu, etc.
Unhelpful reactions by the church:
- (dispensationalism) it doesn't matter because we'll be going to heaven anyway. What happens when the literature of the oppressed becomes the literature of the powerful?
- (neo-Anabaptist) the church must be a beacon of light, but be separate from the world. There is strong sectarian ism in this. That vision doesn't do the full job
- right or left wing politics with a Christian wash on it. Makes it easy to define someone.
More Americans have discovered the NT as a book of political philosophy that speaks strongly against the Empire.
Today's political readers assume that Paul and the other writers meant power in the same way we do. Just because Paul made a radical critique of the empire, we can just pick it up wholesale and apply it directly to us.
Post-exilic Jews believed that God was going to reign and come in his fullness and power, and he was still sovereign in some way over the nations.
In creational monotheism, the world is best ruled by wise and humble rulers trying to care for God's creation.
First century Jews knew all about bad rulers, both pagan and Jewish.
Judaism assumed that the creator God wanted the world ruled by his image bearing people.
The Temple was the meeting of heaven and earth to first century Jews. Jesus radically redefined the temple to mean himself and those who have the Spirit.
Baptism vs temptation narratives. Temptations are to give the easy way to power.
The breaking of the power of the enemy is the beginning of the in breaking of the Kingdom of God.
The Gospels portray the observers as suspicious, because they'd seen kingdom/messiah movements before.
Political and theological fear lie behind many of the controversies in the Gospels.
People are obtaining the benefits that they got from the Temple from Jesus where they were. Jesus was a walking Temple; a one man apocalypse.
Jesus will come to his global sovereignty through suffering and will alleviate that suffering through his suffering.
Traditional atonement theology doesn't typically look at the Gospels for directions.
We make divinity and humanity into abstractions, but that's not how scripture deals with it.
The trial scenes with Jesus are to be seen upside down. It's not Jesus on trial, but Pilate and Caiphas.
All the evangelists see Jesus going to his death to accomplish the will of God in bringing out the kingdom through suffering.
Golgotha becomes the new holy mountain where you go to meet God.
We are to understand Jesus' death and Kingdom in terms of the Temple.
When Jesus wanted to explain his death, he didn't give his followers a theory; he gave them a meal.
Reducing the Cross into a ticket to heaven belittles it disgracefully. It is so much greater than that.
Temple and theocracy are joined at the hip; no less in Jesus than before him.
The Spirit does what the Spirit does through Jesus' followers. John 16, 18, & 19. What Jesus did before Pilate is what Christians should do before the powers.