Death, Deeper Death, and Resurrection

The story of the Bible is the death and resurrection of the Christ, but often there is an important nuance to this story-line.

The house of Ahab is not destroyed during the reign of Ahab, but during the reign of his son Jehoram, the best of the Omrides (2 Kings 3:2). After the death-reign of Ahab and Jezebel, Jehoram might look like the beginning of new life. But that new life is not enough. Before Israel is restored, she must go through the deeper death of Assyrian conquest.
The house of David is destroyed not during the reign of Manasseh, but after the reign of Josiah, among the best of the Davidic kings. After the death-reign of Manasseh (and some of his predecessors – Ahaz), Josiah is definitely new life for Judah. But that new life is not enough. Before Judah can be restored, she must not only go through the death of apostasy, but the deeper death of exile.
Jesus is opposed by the Pharisees and scribes, but at the beginning of Passover week things seem to be on the upswing. Cheering crowds greet Him as He enters Jerusalem, and He silences the Pharisees in debate in the temple. One can imagine Peter musing that all that talk about the cross was greater exaggerated. But the death of rejection must be followed by the deeper death of the cross.

Resurrection is not merely an upswing after a period of decline. Resurrection is not merely improving fortunes, a kind of spiritual upsurge in the GNP. Resurrection is resurrection, new life after a death deeper than decline.

posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, May 12, 2006 at 09:28 AM