This is such a gratifying, soul-satisfying passage after wading through the blood, torture and tears. To me it has that breath of fresh air feeling you get after you have a good hard cry. You feel wrung out, but at peace.
Being raised in the Baptist church, I’m thankful for the strong emphasis on and respect for the Bible. But I understand that a lot of the language with which I was raised is a tad askew (I’m being kind now). The main motivation for “asking Jesus into my heart” was to ensure my place in heaven. I don’t recall any talk of God’s kingdom in its all-inclusive sense. It was all about biding your time until “the roll was called up yonder.” And so, I deeply appreciate N.T. Wright’s careful explanation of the true meaning of God’s kingdom–the all encompassing kingdom that includes heaven, but is so much more.