Most of my posts express an opinion. This post is a little different, sticking more closely to the text of N. T. Wright’s Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters. About much I disagree with Wright, but his is such a fine example of a scholarly work accessible to educated laymen and women that it deserves a special place. I’ll save most of my criticism for the conclusion.
“I have done my best,” says Wright, “to explore the meaning of the phrase Jesus used as the great slogan for his project, the kingdom of God.” (loc 108) His answer is that the kingdom of God is now, not just in the future. God’s kingdom is not where we go after we die; it’s where we live now.
When Jesus healed people, when he ate and drank with ordinary people, offering forgiveness freely to those who stood outside society, it wasn’t just an example of a future reality. This was reality itself. This is what it looked like when God was in charge. This is what it means when Christ teaches us to pray “on earth as it is in heaven.” (p 106)