Jesus Lives, or Christianity Dies

by N.T. Wright for “On Faith,”
April 4, 2007

If Jesus’ bodily remains were found, then Christianity as it began and continued was based on a mistake, or (more strongly) a lie.

Christianity is about the creator God defeating the powers that corrupt, deface and overcome the good, wonderful, vibrant creation, not about this God (or some other) colluding with death and agreeing that what matters after all is some disembodied existence.

Christianity is about this creator God launching his project of new creation — transformed, now, so that death itself and all that contributes to it can no longer touch it — in and through the resurrection of Jesus, and continuing until the earth (not just heaven! THE EARTH) is filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

That began at Easter, continues in the life of faith, prayer and sacrament and the mission, in the widest and narrowest senses of the word, of the church, and will be complete when justice and mercy flood the whole creation.Easter is the hinge on which all this turns, consequent upon the victory accomplished on the cross. Take Easter away, and we are at best like the first-century Jews, still hoping for redemption to happen but with no sign that it has just yet. And at worst we are back with some kind of paganism — which is where, ultimately, the denial of resurrection will leave you.

Bodily resurrection is what you get at the intersection point between the lines of God as the good and wise creator and God as the judge who will set everything right at last.

Give up either, or both, and what you’re left with isn’t Christianity.


Thanks for your prayers for our gathering last night. It was a special time. A highlight for me was hearing from Landon, a new missionary to the area who has formerly served among the poor in Panamá (where he and his team coached lay-people in house church planting), ministered with the Hispanic population of St. Louis, and last summer arrived in Boston to join God in ministering among Latinos here. His stories of “ordinary folks” doing “extraordinary things” when filled with the Spirit were truly inspiring.

A group of us are going to continue to meet on a monthly basis to work through Ben Cheek’s exceptional material on Jesus, REVOLUTIONARY. (click on the link to download the 8 chapters for free)

Here is a description of the series from one of Ben’s sites,

What would it be like to live a life like Jesus? How would it feel to be launched out on his mission in the world? What did he know that made his life so world-changing — that even now the effects of his work are felt my billions of people?

REVOLUTIONARY is a series of studies about a lifestyle of service that flows organically from relationship and imitation of Jesus of Nazareth. In twelve booklets it follows the life of Christ, gleaning wisdom from his activities and encouraging the reader to apply each thing learned. This book intends to be both theological and practical, offering God-revealing insights and suggestions on pragmatics.

We’re prayerful that as our little “band of revolutionaries” becomes more like Jesus and follow him into the world, the “virus” will spread through our neighborhoods and God’s kingdom will be made manifest throughout Boston.

Would you join us in that prayer?


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