Mars Hill’s Church, Seattle, features all about Jesus: http://blog.marshill.com/
Simply Jesus, by N.T. Wright, Hardcover, HarperOne, 2011, 256 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-0062084392, $24.99
N.T. Wright, world-renowned Anglican bishop, Bible scholar and bestselling author explores who Jesus was, what Jesus did, why it matters and what it means to follow him in Simply Jesus.
He begins with why he considers Jesus’ story “misunderstood” and then explains how Jesus’s message is far more than the salvation message. While many believe Jesus died to ensure believers entry into heaven, which he certainly did, Jesus’ arrival on earth was more than that, it was “…how God became king on earth as in heaven.” (pg. 149)
Wright establishes Jesus’ kingship through studying the historical account of Jesus as well as the Jesus of “faith” that believers worship as “part of the threefold unity of the one God.” His purpose is to point readers to Jesus and thus, “…to find the way through Jesus to God himself and to a life in which following Jesus” makes sense.
Readers learn about Augustus Caesar and the ways Jesus threatened the traditional culture and religion of Rome. Why Wright believes “piety, conscience and happiness” distract and take away from Jesus’s “central claim” of king and lordship. What the “perfect storm” is and why it matters, among other topics.
The first five chapters explore “key questions” that are difficult to answer with simplicity because Jesus, God’s Son, cannot be reduced, simplified or easily understood with finite minds that can’t comprehend his divinity.
The middle of the book, chapters six through fourteen, feature Jesus’s accomplishments, his parables and cultural differences of first century Jews, Greeks and Romans. One of the best segments in this section features why “Jesus spoke and acted as if he were in charge” and how first-century “thought patterns” are so different than present day thinking.
He also describes why he sees modern churches as “real reductionists” who over-simplify Jesus with an over-emphasis on “piety, conscience and ultimate happiness.” Jesus is so much more than that. He is Savior for sure, but he is also King and wants believers to act as God’s “image bearers.”
The last and perhaps best chapter, “Jesus: The ruler of the world” describes how Jesus’s “kingdom on earth” operates through those who believe, honor and obey God. His depiction of Jesus joining “heaven and earth together” with the anointing of the Holy Spirit is remarkable.
Wright “unleashes the full story of Jesus” with metaphors and parables that equip readers to visualize and understand why he believes Jesus launched his kingship on earth when he became Savior. Wright’s viewpoint makes sense, is readable, thought-provoking and easy-to-understand. Simply Jesus is a book to savor.
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