Friday, March 29, 2013

The Jesus I Never Knew

I have recently read two books by Philip Yancey that I absolutely loved, Where is God When it Hurts and Prayer. Both of these works were noticeably cut from a different mold than the myriad generic, cookie-cutter theology books that fill the shelves at your local bookstore. The two Yancey books that I have read represent in-depth looks into topics that show a high measure of thought, reason, and consideration developed only after years of study. Given that these were the first two Yancey-penned books that I have tackled, I thought that I would continue with another Yancey work as I sought out a book for my devotional times. What I selected was The Jesus I Never Knew.

Yancey's approach to this work was essentially based on the following question:

Could we be perpetuating an image of Jesus that fits our pious expectations and sensibilities but does not match the person portrayed so vividly in the Gospels?

He then considers various aspects of Jesus as put forth in the New Testament gospels (i.e. the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), whether they be from the point of view of those who were "on the scene" or statements/actions of Jesus himself. Given the title of this book, you can imagine that Yancey comes from a background where he has had to work hard to set aside various modern interpretations and pictures of who Jesus was and what he was like to reclaim the Jesus of the Bible.

My take is that this work is essentially "bread-and-butter" theology. I do not think that, what I would term "active" Christians (those who attend church regularly and study the Bible regularly), will read anything that they do not already know. However, more casual Christians, seeker-type Christians, or those who have never really spent time studying Jesus, will find lots of things that may upset or reform their view of who Jesus was. The next Yancey book that I have on my shelf to read is Disappointment with God. I greatly look forward to this one.