In the “Gospel and Empire” Wright is pointing out the world that Paul was living where the Roman emperor religion was the fastest growing religion. Because of the Roman military control and victories the emperor was believed to have divine power. Paul in his letters was reminding his readers that the ultimate ruler was Jesus who was above all others.
By pointing at the cross, Paul identified the earthly ruler’s limits and Jesus victory. Jesus annulled the emperor’s biggest weapon. Death was the result of the emperor’s ultimate power on people which Jesus concurred on the cross. The cross made evident that Jesus was a stronger ruler. This message made Paul’s job a very dangerous one.
For the Jews this was just a reminder since they believed that their God was the one God. They have lived under other earthly rulers in Assyria and Babylon. So, living under foreign ruler was not new for the Jewish community.
Paul in his letters, also reminded Christians that they are servants of the Messiah, the true lord but that does not give them freedom to ignore the temporary authority who are there to bring order. Also, that the church must live as a sign of the kingdom to come and cannot be inaugurated in the present by violence and hatred.
Wright is highlighting that Paul’s writing had a political dimension.