Instead of the seven words that Jesus spoke from the cross, Tom Wright invites you to consider seven words that people spoke to the cross—people like Mary and the Roman centurion who witnessed the crucifixion, and Pontius Pilate, who helped to instigate it. The result is a powerful sequence of meditations that will move you to reassess your own response to Jesus’ death, his resurrection, and the continuing influence of his Spirit on those who follow him today.
“And so, ironically, the Romans wanted to get rid of him because he was a nationalist Messiah, and the Jews wanted to get rid of him because he wasn’t.” (Page 18)
“We only understand the cross when we see it as the climax of Jesus’ life-work, his kingdom-project; we only understand that life-work when we see it as the climax of God’s plan for Israel and, through Israel, for the world.” (Pages x–xi)
“The Romans didn’t crucify burglars or handbag snatchers. They did crucify revolutionaries.” (Page 18)
“He, as it were, takes human uncleannesses, so that other humans can take his wholeness. He absorbs our impurity in himself so that it becomes lost without trace, and his own purity flows into us instead.” (Page 20)
“If you are the Messiah—if you are the Son of God—then you’re not supposed to be on a Roman cross! You’re supposed to be leading your people to victory over the Romans!” (Page 5)
Nicholas Thomas “Tom” Wright (1948–) is a New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and Anglican bishop and currently Research Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Early Christianity at St. Mary's College in the University of St Andrews and Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. Christianity Today named him one of today's top theologians.
Wright was born in Morpeth, Northumberland, and recounts an awareness of God's presence from a young age—and that relationship with God ever since is reflected in his life and work. He's a prolific author; one of his most popular books, Surprised by Hope, frames the resurrection of the dead as the appropriate hope for all believers rather than an overemphasis on just "going to heaven when you die." He's among the leading theologians in the New Perspective on Paul debate. Wright has several honorary doctoral degrees, and in 2014, the British Academy awarded him the Burkitt Medal "in recognition of special service to biblical studies." In 2015, he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Wright served as chaplain at Cambridge from 1978 to 1981, then as assistant professor of New Testament language and literature at McGill University in Montreal. Before becoming a chaplain, tutor, lecturer, and fellow at Oxford in 1986, Wright served as dean of Lichfield Cathedral, canon theologian of Westminster Abbey, and the bishop of Durham from 2003–10. In addition to the entire New Testament for Everyone Series, some of N. T. Wright's books include The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians, Who Was Jesus, The New Testament and the People of God, God and the Pandemic, Evil and the Justice of God, Surprised by Hope, and Simply Christian. He coauthored Jesus the Final Days with Craig A. Evans.