I am working my way back through NT Wright’s book, Surprised by Hope, and it is bending my mind all over again. How I used to think about heaven and eternal life was transformed by this book, and I need this refresher.
Wright has the reminder for me that the New Testament witness isn’t about believing in Jesus so that when we die we get to go to heaven. Strangely enough, that is completely absent from the gospel narrative.
There is not one declaration in the gospel narrative stating, “Jesus is alive, therefore we get to go to heaven when we die.” There isn’t a statement of, “Jesus is alive, therefore there is life after death.”
Easter in the gospel narrative is this: Jesus is raised so he IS Messiah and therefore he IS the world’s true Lord. He is raised so God’s new creation has begun. With that new creation in motion, we his followers have work to do. We are his heralds announcing his lordship to the entire world. We are to make his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. (I’m still working my mind through that difficult thought.)
Resurrection is powerful. This isn’t about believing in life after death. This about something deeper. It is a concept that changes life itself. Here. Now. Not in the “by and by.” Resurrected life is powerful now.