The disciples wanted a kingdom without a cross. Many would-be “orthodox” or “conservative” Christians in our world have wanted a cross without a kingdom, an abstract “atonement” that would have nothing to do with this world except to provide the means of escaping it. Many too have wanted a “divine” Jesus as a kind of “superman” figure, a heavenly hero come to rescue them, but not to act as Israel’s Messiah, establishing God’s Kingdom on earth as in heaven. Jesus’ shocking combination of scriptural models into a single vocation makes excellent historical sense; that is, it explains at a stroke why he did and said what he did and said. But, as we shall see, it remains as challenging in our world, and indeed in our churches, as it was in Jesus’ own day.
-From Simply Jesus, pp. 173-4