o imply that Jesus 'went to heaven when he died', or that he is now simply a spiritual presence, and to suppose that such ideas exhaust the referntial meaning of 'Jesus was raised from the dead', is . . . to cut the nerve of the social, cultural and political critique [inherent within the reusrrection]. Death is the ultimate weapon of the tryant; resurrection does not make a covenant with death, it overthrows it. . . . No tyrant is threatened by Jesus going to heaven, leaving his body in a tomb. No governments face the authentic Christian challenge when the church's social preaching tries to base itself in Jesus' teaching, detached from the central and energizing fact of his resurrection . . .
No wonder the Herods, the Caesars and the Sadducees of this world, ancient and modern, were and are eager to rule out all possibility of actual resurrection. They are, after all, staking a counter-claim on the real world. It is the real world that the tyrants and bullies (including intellectual and cultural tyrants and bullies) try to rule by force, only to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumours of resurrection, rumours that would imply that their greatest weapons, death and deconstruction, are not after all omnipotent.
Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, pp. 730-731, 737.
At the heart of the Christian message, then, is this kernel that is nothing less than a gauntlet thrown down before any power that challenges the faith. Death no longer has any power; power, indeed, no longer has any power, rather powerlessness is now the way to live a truly human life. Not obsequiousness, not surrender. Never surrender. Just . . . a refusal to accept the rules of the game as the powers that be determine them to be.
I like that. I like that a whole lot. It isn't for everyone. It may not even be credible to most people. Particle physics isn't credible to most people, either, even though our computers run on the basis of theories few people grasp with anything beyond a child's comprehension, so comprehensibility is hardly an issue in the running of our daily life. I doubt even Wright grasps the implication of what he has written; this is a challenge even so powerful, so all encompassing, and so freeing as to be beyond our ordinary understanding. We can sit and argue over all sorts of things (be "nitpicky", if you like), but this truth is no less true for any argument one way or another, because it is a lived truth, and those are always the best truths.