Yesterday on the way up to Sheffield for a meeting I had the chance to listen again to some of N.T. Wright’s excellent 4-part series about what we see of Jesus’ mission in the gospels.

One quote from the end of the second lecture really struck me:

When we speak of following Christ it is the crucified messiah we are talking about. His death wasn’t simply the messy bit that enables our sins to be forgiven but which can then be left behind. The cross is the surest and truest and deepest window onto the very heart and character of the living and loving God – the God who made the world has the cross at his heart.

And the more we learn about the cross, in all its historical and theological dimensions, the more we discover about the one in whose image we are made, and hence our own vocation to be the cross-bearing people. The people in whose lives and vocations that living God is made known.

And when we therefore speak of shaping our world, we do not, we dare not, simply treat the cross as “the thing which saves us personally”, “the thing which assures us of God’s personal love”, “the thing which gives us ultimate salvation”, but which we then forget when we get on with applying the kingdom to the world, shaping the world in that sense. The task of shaping our world must be understood as the redemptive task of bringing the achievement of the cross to bear on the world. And in that task the methods, as well as the message, must be cross-shaped through and through.

Listen to all four excellent talks here:

  • Jesus and the Kingdom (8.5MB MP3)
  • Jesus and the Cross (8.2MB MP3)
  • Jesus and God (10.4MB MP3)
  • Jesus and the World’s True Light (9.8MB MP3)

(HT: Eddie, a while ago)

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