Originally posted on 10 August 2009 at deTheos.com.
Below are some of my thoughts after reading Your Jesus is Too Safe: Outgrowing a Drive-Thru, Feel-Good Savior. [Read the book interview with author Jared Wilson in the last post.]
It’s a great book, and may now be in my top 10 favorites. Seriously, I read many dead guys, and am constantly dabbling in a few books at a time. This one made me put down all others and dive in. There are only a couple other authors who can do that to me (one is my gifted writer wife).
What’s the purpose of this book? Wilson writes:
“to remind us, for the glory of God and the hope of the world, of the original message of the historical person Jesus Christ, who was, in fact, God in the flesh” (p. 15, introduction).
That’s because “to really know God, one must really know Jesus” (ibid.). Wilson had me in the introduction; I was hooked.
Diving into Your Jesus is Too Safe, I was challenged, excited, laughed often, got riled up at some of my jacked-up views, and came back thirsty for more of this Jesus. Wilson points past himself. He wants us to know and see Jesus! The thing is, we think we know enough about Jesus. But we only know enough to make us dangerous. And we each have “a Jesus” in mind when we hear His name. Is yours “ATM Jesus” or “Therapist Jesus” or “Hippie Jesus” or “get-out-of-hell-free-Jesus”? Perhaps you like “friendly legalist Jesus,” who gives you 5 easy steps to better finances, God’s way. Scrap all of those — and any others — and open up the Bible to get to know the Real Jesus, the God-Man who is the full revelation of what God desires us to know about Him now.
Somewhere along the way we Evangelicals fell in love with ourselves and made a plastic “Jesus” in our own image. Nevermind that He’s the self-proclaimed Image of God. We like Him to be like us, just a slob like one of us — but in a cleaned-up, respectable sort of way. Don’t get too comfortable with “your” Jesus.
As I mentioned, I can’t recommend this book enough. In fact, I bought copies for our youth volunteers, to go hand-in-hand with a series through the Sermon on the Mount that is all about Jesus. If you want to be challenged to see Jesus’ worth, words, works and ways, pick up this book, read it next to the Gospels, and get to work. You won’t be disappointed.
Wilson is a capable writer, and he’d be the first to admit that the path to getting published in non-fiction is quite arduous, if you don’t have a PhD (and thus no one will read it), or if you are not a celebrity pastor (in which case many would read it).
What’s in the book?
Your Jesus is Too Safe is comprised of twelve “portraits” of Jesus emerging from the Scriptures. It’s an accessible “mini-biblical theology,” tracing Jesus from Genesis to Revelation (cover-to-cover, through the ages) to see how He embodies these dozen paradigms. Sandwiched between and introduction and conclusion, here are the twelve chapters:
- Jesus the Promise
- Jesus the Prophet
- Jesus the Forgiver
- Jesus the Man
- Jesus the Shepherd
- Jesus the Judge
- Jesus the Redeemer
- Jesus the King
- Jesus the Sacrifice
- Jesus the Provision
- Jesus the Lord
- Jesus the Savior
The book may make the most sense to Christians, but I won’t hesitate to hand it to non-Christians. If we silly believers are often stumbling blocks to reflecting the true Savior, perhaps this raw take from the Scriptures can illuminate what we darken, and clarify what we make fuzzy. Whether you think you know about Jesus, or you know very little, pick up this book and learn the old truth through a new encounter. Plus, at about ten bucks, it’s a sweet deal. Skip three coffees over the next couple of weeks and read this book to energize your day. A few of the chapters (1, 4, 8 esp.) are worth the price alone.
Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite excerpts from Your Jesus is Too Safe: Continue reading