The primary focus of NT Wright’s new book, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion, is the importance of the crucifixion.
Whether we believe in Jesus, whether we approve of his teaching, let alone whether we like the look of the movement that still claims to follow him, we are bound to see his crucifixion as one of the pivotal moments in human history.(1)
For us Christians, as Wright also points out this is as the turning point in human history. Probably for the people of the pew, we get this as a bit of ideology, but do we get this as a part of our life story. That is, do I and those whom I serve at Greenwood and Montague Ave, see that an event more than 2000 years ago plays a significant role in our lives. And if it does, how do we recognize in the day to day business of living.
What Wright wants the reader to recognize is that on that day a revolution began. The resurrection three days later was the first sign that a revolution had begun.
In the introduction, Wright also claims most of us Christians, and even many of non-Christians, do not see it this way. Most of those who see things from the pew had been taught long ago that Jesus’ death was about saving them from sin, and giving them a ticket to a trip to heaven when they die. Wright claims not to banish this personal claim of salvation, but by expanding the meaning of the crucifixion, so that personal salvation is even more wonderful.(2)
How is it more wonderful, or greater, than just personal salvation?
In this book I want to show what that means and how a fuller vision of what happened when Jesus died, rooted in the New Testament itself, can enable us to be part of that revolution. According to the book of Revelation, Jesus died in order to make us not rescued nonentities, but restored human beings with a vocation to play a vital part in God’s purposes for the world. (3)
I believe Wrights argument fits with the argument made by John Wesley in the 17th century. These are foundational beliefs of the United Methodist Church, inheritors of Wesley’s theological understanding. We as Methodists, believe that the complete story of salvation includes not only Justification, but also Sanctification. First we become part of the family, then we are given a vocation for which we are prepared through the process of sanctification and which will be used as part of God’s purposes for the world.
As we work through The Day the Revolution our purposes are to first seek to possibly understand the power of the cross which has taken hold of our lives, and secondly come to accept and understand the vocation that we receive from being made part of a family that serves the Father by following the Son, who empowers us to participate in the mission of God through the Spirit.
- Wright, N. T. (2016-10-11). The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion (Kindle Locations 251-253). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
- ibid, (Kindle Location, 264).
- ibid, (Kindle Locations 278-280).