Boltin Picture Library

Jesus enthroned. This Russian cloisonné enamel, in the style of 12th-century icons, depicts a regal, resurrected Jesus. Israel’s earlier prophets had predicted the arrival of a new “kingdom” in which Israel would be freed from bondage and her sins against Yahweh would be forgiven. In the centuries before and after Jesus, numerous eschatological prophets and messianic figures arose who proclaimed that the promised kingdom had come. According to author Wright, Jesus himself was such an apocalyptic figure; in his sayings, parables and actions, Jesus announced that, through him, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7). But why believe Jesus, asks Wright, if he was simply one of that turbulent period’s many self-proclaimed prophets who declared the completion of one phase in Israel’s history and the dawning of another? The answer, for Wright, lies in the reality of the resurrection.