If the promised final future is simply that immortal souls will have left behind their mortal bodies, why then death still rules – since that is a description, not of the defeat of death, but simply of death itself, seen from a different angle.
The “word” did not “offer itself” in a take-it-or-leave-it fashion, any more than Caesar’s heralds would have said, “If you’d like a new kind of imperial experience, you might like to try giving allegiance to the new emperor.
Easter was when Hope in person surprised the whole world by coming forward from the future into the present.
We have lived for too long in a world, and tragically in a Church, where the wills and affections of human beings are regarded as sacrosanct as they stand, where God is required to command what we already love, and to promise what we already desire.
The future goal is the thing which produces character in the present.
The longer you look at Jesus, the more you will want to serve him in his world. That is, of course, if it’s the real Jesus you’re looking at. Plenty of people in the church and outside it have made up a ‘Jesus’ for themselves, and have found that this invented character makes few real demands on them. He makes them feel happy from time to time, but doesn’t challenge them, doesn’t suggest they get up and do something about the plight of the world. Which is, of course, what the real Jesus had an uncomfortable habit of doing.
It is not about “life after death” as such. Rather, it’s a way of talking about being bodily alive again after a period of being bodily dead. Resurrection is a second-stage postmortem life: “life after ‘life after death.
…left to ourselves we lapse into a kind of collusion with entrophy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there’s nothing much we can do about them. And we are wrong. Our task in the present…is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and a foretaste of the second.