I'm not ready to give a review yet…truth is, I've only gotten about two chapters into the book. John's writing is crisp as usual. I've enjoyed, been blessed and challenged by John's gifts in the past. I still count a couple of his books as key readings in my own formation as the person the Spirit is 're-creating' in me. That new identity, as well as yours if you are a Jesus follower, is modeled after or, better yet, spun out of the image of our Lord and Master Himself…Jesus. That's why not only knowing about Jesus but knowing Him…knowing as much as we can about what He did, what He said, how He lived, even how He was "wired up" in his personality is key. John makes a good point in the opening of the book…we know more about the actions and teachings of Jesus than we know about who He was and is. So, delving into an "investigation" or at least a "holy imagination" based upon scripture about what Jesus was actually like as a human person is not only understandable but desirable. I'll let you know more about the book as I get into it fully…you can bank on that!
In the meantime, here's a quote I came across in another book that captured my attention as gives you (as well as me) a taste of some of the things we can learn about Jesus:
“What is therefore the task of the Christian today? Shall I answer, “faith, hope, and love”? That sounds beautiful but I would say “courage”. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature. We lack a holy rage. The recklessness that comes from the knowledge of God and humanity. The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets…and when the lie rages across the face of the earth – a holy anger about things that are wrong in the world. To restlessly seek a recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms with the norms of the Kingdom of God. And remember that the signs of the Christian church have always been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish…but never the chameleon”. Danish Kaj Munk
I have said in many places that it is time to "de-sanitize" Jesus. We have made Him all cute, cuddly, full of syrupy love and "political correctness" when the REAL Jesus is more complex, more shocking, less safe, less unpredictable…yes, still full of grace but someone with an intensity and passion for what His purpose was in the world that it changed history. You see, how we see Jesus shapes our mission…
- If we adopt a tame/insipid Jesus then it shouldn't surprise us that we are "reflecting" the same to the world
- Because we adopt a mission that is consistent with the picture of Jesus that shapes our incarnational/mission-driven imagination
- The grand story of Jesus is really a paradigm of life – it is a paradigm for our purpose, our devotion, our mission and our followership
- If we sanitize Jesus and tame him in our orthodoxy, is it no wonder that Jesus seems to have let us "off the hook” – you see, He gave US His ministry…He said "greater works will you do"…let your mind and heart wrap around that?
So, more to come…when I get done with John's book, you'll know! In the meantime, take a risk…follow the real Jesus!