N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Way to the Kingdom

I’ve been slowly reading through N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 2.  Alluding to Matthew 26:52, he make a point that needs to be heard more often.  Here’s the quote (which is sort of long):

“Jesus denounced, as no better than pagans, no only those who compromised with Caesar by playing his power-games, but also those who compromised with him by thinking to defeat him with his own weapons.  Those who take the sword will perish by the sword.  Here is the doubly radical twist in Jesus’ telling of the kingdom-story, which marks him out from his Jewish theological, eschatological, and political context even while it insists that he is only comprehensible within it. His kingdom-announcement, like all truly Jewish kingdom-announcements, came as the message of the one true God, the God of Israel, in opposition to pagan power, pagan gods, and pagan politics.  But, unlike the other kingdom-announcers of his time from Judas the Galilean to Simeon ben Kosiba, Jesus declared that the way to the kingdom was the way of peace, the way of love, the way of the cross” (p. 595).

What do you think?

I especially love that last line and it bears repeating in bold letters: “…Jesus declared that the way to the kingdom was the way of peace, the way of love, the way of the cross.”

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One response to “N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Way to the Kingdom

  1. The Church wisely preserves and announces the lives of the Saints to show us what following Jesus looks like….here are today’s Saints…
    The Holy Martyr Myron was a presbyter in Achaeia (Greece), and lived during the III Century. He suffered in the year 250 under the emperor Decius (249-251). The presbyter was gentle and kind to people, but he was also courageous in the defense of his spiritual children. One time, on the feast of the Nativity of Christ, he was celebrating Divine-services. The local governor Antipater came into the church with soldiers so as to arrest those praying there and to subject them to torture. Seeing this, Saint Myron began heatedly to plead for his flock, denouncing the governor for his cruelty. The saint was delivered over to torture, — they took him and struck at his body with iron rods. They then threw the presbyter into a red-hot oven, but the Lord preserved the martyr — at the very moment when about 150 men at a nearby pagan temple were scorched by the oven fire. The governor then began to demand the martyr to worship idols. Having received from Saint Myron a firm refusal, Antipater ordered the leather thongs to be cut from his skin. Saint Myron took one of the leather thongs and threw it in the face of his tormentor. Falling into a rage, Antipater gave orders to strike Saint Myron all over his stripped body, and then to deliver the martyr over to wild beasts for devouring. But the beasts would not touch him. Perceiving himself defeated, Antipater in his blind rage committed suicide. They then took Saint Myron to the city of Kizika, where he was beheaded by the sword (+ 250).

    The Monk Alypii of Pechersk, one of the first and finest of Russian iconographers, was a monastic novice of the Monk Nikon (Comm. 23 March), and from his youthful years pursued asceticism at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. He studied the iconography of the Greek masters, and from the year 1083 beautifying the Pechersk church of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God. The Monk Alypii wrote icons gratis. If he learned that in some church the icons had become worn, he took them with him and unmercenarily restored them. If it so happened that they paid him for his work, the monk disbursed one part for the obtaining of iconographic materials, the second part he distributed to the poor, and only the third did he keep for himself. The Monk Alypii was never famous, and he did the iconography only so as to serve God. He was raised to the dignity of priestmonk and was known for a gift of wonderworking while still alive: the Monk Alypii healed a Kievan man suffering from leprosy and decay of the body by anointing the wounds of the sick man with paints, prepared for the writing of icons. Many icons done by the monk were glorified by wonderworking. A particular instance is known, when Angels of God helped him in the holy task of writing icons. A certain Kievan man, having built a church, entrusted two Pechersk monks to commission the icons for it. The monks concealed the money and said nothing to the Monk Alypii. Having waited a long time for the carrying out of the commission, the Kievan man turned to the hegumen with a complaint against the monk, and here only did they discover that he had not heard of the commission. When they brought the boards given by the customer, it turned out that on them already were done beautiful images. And when the church built for the icons was consumed by fire, all of the icons remained unharmed. One of these icons ( the Uspenie of the MostHoly Mother of God) — having received the title Vladimir-Rostovsk (celebrated 15 August), was taken by GreatPrince Vladimir Monomakh (1113-1125) to a Rostov church built by him.
    Another time, an Angel wrote an icon in honour of the Uspenie (Dormition) of the MostHoly Mother of God, when the Monk Alypii lay in a pre-death illness. And in this the Angel accepted the soul of the Monk Alypii (he died on 17 August not earlier than the year 1114). He was buried in the Nearer Caves (Comm. Sobor 28 September). Of the right hand of the Monk Alypii the first three fingers were folded perfectly alike, and the last two were bent to the palm — in such prayerful manner of signing himself with the sign of the cross did the monk die. One of the icons of the Monk Alypii — the MostHoly Mother of God with the Infant-Saviour, surviving from the time of the Monks Antonii and Feodosii of Pechersk is now preserved in the State Tretyakov Gallery (named the Svensk, and celebrated 3 May and 17 August).

    The Martyrs Paul and Juliania suffered in about the year 273. The account about them is located under 4 March.

    The Martyrs Therses, Leucius, Coronatus and their Companions suffered in Bythnian Caesarea and Apollonia under the emperor Decius (249-251). (It is possible that Coronatus is the same person as Cornutus, whose commemoration is on 12 September).

    The Martyr Patrocles lived during the III Century under the emperor Aurelian (270-275). It is known, that he was a native of the city of Tricassinum (now the city of Troyes in France) and led a pious Christian life: he loved to pray, to read the Holy Scriptures, to fast and to be charitable to the poor. For this the Lord sent down upon him the gift of wonderworking. The emperor Aurelian summoned Saint Patrocles to himself and commanded him to worship idols, promising for this great honours and riches. The saint disdained idol-worship saying that the emperor himself was a beggar. “How canst thou term me, the emperor, a beggar?” — questioned Aurelian. The saint answered: “Thou dost possess many earthly treasures, but thou hast not Heavenly treasures, because thou believest not in Christ and in the future life thou shalt not receive paradisical blessedness — therefore thou art poor”. Aurelian in answer sentenced him to beheading by the sword. Soldiers led him to the banks of the River Sequanum (now the Seine), but suddenly their eyes were beclouded, and Saint Patrocles at this time went across the river on the water and began to pray on an hill on the other river-bank. Coming to themselves, some of the soldiers were astounded at the disappearance of the martyr and they glorified God, but others attributed the miracle to magic. A pagan woman pointed out to the soldiers that Saint Patrocles was situated on the other bank of the river. Crossing over there, the soldiers killed the martyr (+ c. 275). His body was buried by night by the priest Eusebius and deacon Liberius.

    The Martyrs Straton, Philip, Eutykhian and Kyprian suffered at Nikomedia. Visiting the circus, they taught people to cease with idol-worship and they converted many pagans to Christ. The governor, observing that the people were leaving the circus, summoned to himself the martyrs, who firmly confessed their faith in Christ and for this they were given over to wild beasts for devouring. The beasts did not touch them, and the martyrs were then subjected to torture and thrown into a fire (+ c. 303).

    The Monk Levkii of Volokolamsk was the founder of the Uspenie (Dormition) monastery on the Ruza River (the monastery was located 32 versts from the city of Volokolamsk and 2 versts from the village of Seredo-Stratilatsk). The Monk Levkii was a disciple of the Monk Paphnutii of Borovsk (+ 1 May 1477) and associate of the Monk Joseph of Volotsk (+ 9 September 1515). The time of the founding of the monastery by the Monk Levkii might perhaps be determined from the remnants of the Life of the Monk Daniel of Pereyaslavl’ (+ 7 April 1540). The monk Daniel upon his arrival at the Borovsk monastery in the year 1466 was entrusted by the Monk Paphnutii to the Starets (elder) Levkii as an experienced ascetic in the spiritual life. After 10 years, i.e. in 1476, the starets and his student settled in the Volokolamsk region, where they dwelt together for another 2 years in founding the monastery. After this the Monk Daniel went to Pereyaslavl’. It is conjectured that the Monk Levkii was 62 years of age at the founding of the monastery. Having raised up a monastery, he became known throughout the surrounding region for his ascetic life. The Monk Levkii died in extreme old age (according to tradition — 17 July) at the end of the XV Century. He was buried in the monastery founded by him.
    In the Iconographic original of the image of the monk is inscribed under 27 July: “He was greyed, and a beard like Sergei, his hair uncovered, a schema-habit on his shoulders, in his hands a staff, and monastic garb”.
    The commemoration of the Monk Levkii is observed both on 14 December and on 17 August — on the Day of the Holy Martyr Leucius.

    The Monk Philip of Sukhonsk was an hermit on Yankovsk hill, on the left bank of the Sukhona River — two versts from the city of Ustiug. The Ustiug inhabitants built up a monastery at the place of his ascetic deeds, so as to learn monastic life under his guidance, and in the year 1654 they built a church in honour of the Znamenie (Sign) Mother of God with a chapel in the name of the then-glorified Metropolitan of Moscow, Sainted Philip. Brethren soon gathered. The Monk Philip, refusing no one his guidance, in his humility would not accept the dignity of hegumen and he died at the monastery as a simple monk on 17 August 1662.

    The Svensk-Pechersk Icon of the Mother of God has two festal celebrations: on 3 May — on the day of death of the Monk Feodosii of Pechersk (Vide concerning him under that day), and on 17 August — on the day of the death of the Monk Alypii of Pechersk, who wrote the icon. The 17 August day of celebration was established in the year 1815 in thanksgiving for the deliverance of the city of Bryansk (around which the icon appeared in 1288) from its invasion during the 1812 Napoleonic War.

    The Armatian Icon of the Mother of God was situated in Constantinople at the Armatian monastery. The place, where the monastery was located, was called “Armation” or “of the Armatians” and received suchlike a name from the military magister Armatias, nephew of the tyrant Basiliskos and a contemporary of the emperor Zenon (474-491). The celebration of the wonderworking icon was established to commemorate deliverance from the Iconoclast heresy. The VII OEcumenical Council in the year 787 drew up dogmatic determinations about icon-veneration based on the foundations of Holy Scripture and Church Tradition.

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