how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

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Yes, Jesus was vindicated for his faithful obedience to YHWH by his resurrection, but also by how things worked out—that, I think, is the “coming of the Son of Man” theme. I think we can also say that the martyr church was vindicated for its faithful obedience to Jesus by resurrection and by how things worked out. My argument would then be that Christ is understood as the first fruits of the martyrs—they specifically participate in his suffering and vindication during the period of eschatological renewal. We could also say that Jesus is also the first fruits of the general resurrection of all the dead, but I don’t think this is the point that is being made in the New Testament. Humanity is not raised for vindication but for judgment, but this is not the main storyline of the New Testament.