Jesus, The Final Days
In August of 2017, we had the privilege to attend the 20th anniversary of our former church, City Harvest Church in Vancouver, Washington. Along with the church celebration, our pastor also held a gathering for the lead pastors of the churches that have been sent out from there. Besides being a great reunion weekend, our Pastor, Bob MacGregor gave us several books to add to our collection. One of these is a short, powerful book about the events surrounding Easter, called Jesus, The Final Days, by Craig A. Evans & N. T. Wright.
Jesus, The Final Days is a short study on three different aspects of the end of Jesus’ life here on Earth; the death, the burial and the resurrection. What emerges is a scholarly look at the historical evidence and the cultural surroundings of things like the burial practices of 1st century Jews, and motivations for the Romans regarding the use of crucifixions. The information is very faith-building. Anytime our faith is supported by historical evidence and relevant cultural studies of the time, our spirits are enlightened, because faith and reason are not opponents, but instead are two sides of the coin of truth.
My favorite thing about this book is the final chapter on the resurrection. N. T. Wright is truly a modern scholar who is a gift to the church worldwide. His vast knowledge of the scriptures and history lend toward a vibrant view of resurrection, which he terms as Jesus’ “life after life after death”. The resurrection is more than us simply going to heaven (life after death); but instead it is the state of receiving a new body that is eternal, a part of God’s new creation! Walking us through this, Wright clearly articulates what happened to Jesus, and how it is quite different from both our modern understanding of post-mortem events, and how it is different from what the Jewish mindset of the day understood it to be.
Lately I have personally found that books about theology are very enriching to my life. Going back to the simple studying of what the scriptures teach us causes me to feel renewed in my faith, like visiting a hometown, or cooking a very simple meal. Basics, simplicity, raw faith—all of these are so foundational, yet we can tend toward moving to modernizing and making faith relevant to our world today. But returning to the beginning, the scriptures, is invigorating. I believe that is why Easter is so wonderful to celebrate annually. Not that we forget its meaning during the rest of the year, but to focus on it, to consider it, to re-read the Gospel accounts of it, really is good for the soul. This is a great book for Easter, and for any christian who wishes to study about these things. 8 of 10 stars for me.
"With the resurrection of Jesus, the early Christians believed not only that God had begun the long-awaited new creation, but that he had enlisted them, through the spirit of Jesus, as helper within that project. After Easter, new creation isn’t simply something the Christians waited for. It is something in which they were called to help."