Surprised by the Cross

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 12.40.19 PMNT Wright’s newest book, scheduled for publication in about a month and at this site a course is being developed about it, is called The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. I’ve heard Wright say some of these things; but never better than in this book.

Today I want to post the opening two paragraphs and then a few lines from the second page … get ready because this book will be discussed widely:

“Young hero wins hearts.” Had there been newspapers in Jerusalem in the year we now call ad 33, this was the headline you would not have seen. When Jesus of Nazareth died the horrible death of crucifixion at the hands of the Roman army, nobody thought him a hero. Nobody was saying, as they hurriedly laid his body in a tomb, that his death had been a splendid victory, a heroic martyrdom. His movement, which had in any case been something of a ragtag group of followers, was over. Nothing had changed. Another young leader had been brutally liquidated. This was the sort of thing that Rome did best. Caesar was on his throne. Death, as usual, had the last word.

Except that in this case it didn’t. As Jesus’s followers looked back on that day in the light of what happened soon afterward, they came up with the shocking, scandalous, nonsensical claim that his death had launched a revolution. That something had happened that afternoon that had changed the world. That by six o’clock on that dark Friday evening the world was a different place. ..

It wasn’t just that they believed Jesus had been raised from the dead. They did believe that, of course, and that too was scandalous nonsense in their day as it is in ours. But they quickly came to see his resurrection not simply as an astonishing new beginning in itself, but as the result of what had happened three days earlier. The resurrection was the first visible sign that the revolution was already under way. More signs would follow.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.