Gospel as Cruciform Kingdom

When Jesus was proclaiming the advent of the reign of God, he was proclaiming the good news (the gospel).

The introduction to Mark tells us that his whole story demarcates the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ—and that story culminates in Jesus’ crucifixion and report of his resurrection.

As I prepare for a week of discussions about gospel, kingdom, and cross, I keep circling back around to this:

We repeatedly end up with truncated gospels because we have not yet learned to hold together Jesus’ authoritative proclamation and inauguration of the reign of God (Mark 1-8) with Jesus’ road to Jerusalem and death on the cross as king (Mark 8-16).

Some of us struggle to place much significance in the death of Jesus, given all the powers and signs and wonders and teaching and authority and identity he put on display in his life.

Others of us struggle to place much central significance in the life of Jesus, given our understanding of the all-sufficiency of his death on our behalf.

To the one I would say that any conceptual framework of what Jesus was doing in his life that does not require Jesus to die on the cross is an inadequate and finally mistaken view of Jesus and the gospel.

And to the other I would say that any conceptual framework of what Jesus did for us on the cross that does not require Jesus to live a life of proclaiming and demonstrating the advent of the reign of God is an inadequate and finally mistaken view of Jesus and the gospel.

That’s my story for now, anyway: we need to continue working on the articulation of a cruciform kingdom.

What do you think?

Do the gospel stories as such demand that we read them as mutually-interpreting wholes, to where cross and kingdom each inform the other?

And if so, where does this leave us when we come to Paul, whose gospel-story timeline begins with the cross?

I have some thoughts on the latter. I’ll come back to that in a couple of days.

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