I’m kicking myself right now. I’m getting ready to prepare a Bible study on the events of Easter for our youth and I was mining a couple books for great quotes. It’s usually easy for me to find a great quote. I just start looking at all the stuff I’ve underlined (or formerly-“highlighted”…I’ve since learned that my inability to draw a straight line makes mechanical pencils far easier to correct! Plus, for some reason, my wife brought about 100 fully-leaded of them into our marriage…so might as well get some use out of them.) However, apparently I was rather inconsistent a few years ago when I spent a month or so reading NT Wright’s “Resurrection of the Son of God.” The first couple chapters bear some highlights, but then…NOTHING!! And I know that’s nothing to do with the book’s content (It picks up a lot of steam near the end as he goes through the New Testament itself). Arrrgh. Nothing like reading a 700-page book to find out that 3/4 of it bears no sign of your having visited.
That said, when the topic of Easter and the Resurrection comes up, I have two works that I find really helpful:
The Resurrection of the Son of God (RSG)– NT Wright
The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (CFRJ)– Gary Habermas and Michael R. Licona
RSG is the work to read on the theology and historical background of Jesus’ Resurrection. Wright wades through Greco-Roman and Jewish thoughts on the afterlife, as well as spending time doing some excellent biblical theology in both Old and New Testaments regarding the concept. His continual reminder that resurrection isn’t merely “the afterlife”, but clearly refers to a bodily “life after life after death.”
CFRJ is a more “lay-friendly” approach focusing on a “bare minimal fact” approach to arguing for the Resurrection. The authors essentially want to defend 4 or 5 things almost all historians (Christian and secular) agree upon. They are: the crucifixion of Jesus, Jesus’ disciples believing he rose and appeared to them, the conversion of Paul, the conversion of James the brother of Jesus, and lastly (though with a few caveats distinguishing it from the previous four) the empty tomb. Using those facts alone, they provide a fairly impressive argument.
I know there are probably some more “theological” or “devotional” works on the Resurrection. If you know of any, I’m certain I would be glad to hear about them. These two are very useful in each their own way.
Now to finish kicking myself!