Sunday, December 06, 2009


There aren't many books out there on the subject of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not books that you could carry in your rucksack without injuring yourself, anyway. And the books there are tend to be focussed mainly on the evidence for the resurrection rather than the meaning of the resurrection. Of course there is huge value in the former. But isn't the resurrection of Jesus meant to be more than just a handy tool for Christian apologetics? Shouldn't it have an impact on our lives?

Sam Allberry's new book (so new it's not yet available, although you can pre-order it with Amazon) addresses the issue of the meaning of the resurrection, and for my money it does the business. Lifted is only four chapters long, but in those chapters I found again and again that I was getting more excited about the resurrection. The book made me believe in Christ's resurrection more - not because it produced new evidence, but because it explained what it meant to believe that Jesus not only died but also rose.

Sometimes it's simple stuff that hits you hardest. Like this from Sam's first chapter: "the resurrection is the consequence and demonstration of our salvation because death is the consequence and demonstration of our sin." Of course! But as Sam goes on, you'll find yourself struck by how obvious it is that sin leads to death, and how ridiculous you are every time you follow sin instead of the risen Lord. And how much assurance I can derive from the fact that Jesus is raised: "The cross is not a starter pack. It is not God stumping up even most of what we need so that we can fish around in our pockets and make up the rest. By dying and rising for us Jesus has closed the deal. God has signed for it, and his signature is the resurrection." The chapter on transformation takes this and runs with it - I can live differently, because Jesus is raised!

I also found the section on mission particularly useful. Mission is not just an addendum to the story of Jesus. It is the natural outworking of the fact that, by his resurrection, Jesus is exalted as King and Lord of the universe. Everything and everyone must bow to him. Mission is the royal summons of the exalted Christ to his creation. Powerful motivation for us as we seek to speak the gospel.

Any criticisms? Not really. I could have happily read another few chapters, so perhaps my critique would be that it's too short! But if that gets more people reading, so much the better. This is a witty and engaging, yet also hard-hitting, book. I am challenged to believe in and live out the resurrection of Jesus Christ in my own life, and I am thrilled that one day I will see the Lord in my renewed body, in his renewed creation, all because he died and rose.

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