The risen Jesus towards Christian faith

The resurrection meant that Jesus became the Christ, and the risen Christ became the focus of the message of the church rather than the kingdom of God. The earliest Christians looked for the return of Jesus in glory, as Christ and king. They thought they now knew the identity of the one who would come to be judge at the end and establish God's kingdom on earth. After the events in Jerusalem, they searched the scriptures for prophecies of the Christ's death and subsequent vindication, because what had happened shifted the generally expected pattern of eschatological events. These features of the earliest Christian belief are confirmation of the fact that Jesus proclaimed the fulfilment of God's promises and the coming kingdom of God, provoking messianic speculations. They also indicate why the life of Jesus was subsumed into the over-arching cosmic story outlined earlier, why fulfilment of prophecy was so fundamental to early Christianity, why belief in his pre-existence began to complement his post-existence (for the pre-existence in heaven of what was later to be revealed was commonly presumed in apocalyptic literature),92 and why the earliest Christians came to venerate him without imagining any

92 Lincoln, Paradise now and not yet.

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