Day 242 - FOUNDATION STONES IN A YEAR
Read: Mark 1: 14, 15
The question of Jesus’ resurrection lies at the heart of the Christian faith. There is no form of early Christianity known to us that does not affirm that after Jesus’ shameful death, God raised him to life again.
As we’ve said before, it’s the main reason why Christianity arose and took the shape that it did. Christianity began as kingdom-of-God movement. Early Christians said that the Kingdom of God had been brought to earth in Christ. Early Christianity thought of itself as a Kingdom of God movement (Mark 1: 14, 15). As N T Wrights puts it, “They (early Christians) engaged in a praxis that affirmed there was a different way of being human, a way that answered to the claims of this kingdom.”
For a second-Temple Jew, the coming of the kingdom was not about a private existentialist experience but about public events. At its narrowest, it was about the liberation of Israel. At its broadest, it was about the coming of God’s justice and liberation for the whole cosmos.
It is clear that, whatever the early Christians said, the kingdom of God had not come in the way that first-century Jews had been imagining. Israel had not been liberated, the Temple was not rebuilt, and—looking wider in the cosmos—evil, injustice, pain, and death were still on the rampage. The question presses, then: Why did the early Christians say that the kingdom of God had come?
The early Christian answer was that Jesus had been raised from the dead. That was why they said that the kingdom had come and that the new age had dawned.
Lord, it’s amazing to think that your resurrection actually inaugurated a whole new era for the world.