We want to redeem Jesus Christ. That’s why prolific author, Stephen Court and I have written this book:
Jesus Christ! Nine lies, half-truths and outrageous misconceptions about the most revolutionary person who has ever lived*.
Now, before we sound like a couple of heretics, let us explain.
We want to redeem the very exuberant, transformative nature of Jesus Christ to the Church, and to the world at large. See, Jesus Christ is not just some nice ending to a prayer, ‘Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen’, or an expletive when you stub your big toe on the front door. Jesus Christ needs redeeming.
Well, one may rightly assert, Jesus is the one who does the redeeming, but when it comes to the perception of Jesus, and the subsequent impact of the very nature of Jesus in our lives, we feel there’s a greater focus needed. Christology (the study of Christ) has been relegated to the back porch, while we watch reruns of The West Wing and enjoy our Netflix indulgence.
Forgive us, but we’re two passionate, diehard evangelicals who cannot miss a beat to share with you what we understand about who Christ is, and what that means for you.
Understanding who Jesus is, and role that the Son of God plays, is the foundation of Christian theology.
One may say, ‘No Christian theology would be complete without serious reflection on Jesus Christ.’ That’s what we’re doing here, but without all the difficult lingo and words that have more syllables than ‘abbreviation’. We need to drill down to what matters. Theological scholars over the years have written loads of material, much of which you need a PhD to understand. We admire that.
But we aim to dig up some revolutionary material about the person of Jesus Christ that is engaging, provocative, life-changing and intriguing. See, we’re not writing about some nice, well-mannered religious leader or presenting a biography about an accomplished accountant or a lawyer who has read more than Shakespeare. Jesus is not some political personality who helped pen his own biography. The person of Jesus Christ is the most controversial figure in history, who has transformed more lives than the founders of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter combined. More books have been sold with him as the central figure than any other piece of literature on the planet. New songs are written every day with Jesus as the centrepiece.
There has been a fascination with Jesus Christ for a long time. In our contemporary world, businesses cash in on that interest, with Jesus bobble-heads, and ‘Jesus is my homeboy’ T-shirts, and ‘What would Jesus do?’ wristbands. Travel to your nearest Christian bookshop and you’ll find whatever kind of knick-knack you need to remind you about Jesus.
With so much paraphernalia intent on representing Jesus, we can lose the understanding of who Jesus really is. To put it another way, we can fashion Jesus into a mould that fits our already preconceived biases.
But who is Jesus Christ?
This exploration begins with the very question Jesus asks the disciple Peter. He says, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ If Jesus asked you that very question today, I wonder what your answer would be.
Jesus Christ! is written because we want those interested, and those keen enough to stop a moment—and being a short book, you only have to stop a few short moments—to think again about who Jesus is. Consider afresh who it is that you’re following (if indeed you are following). What is it about who Jesus is that will change your life? What is it about how you are living now that needs to change because of what you’ve just discovered?
You cannot simply sit on the fence of indecisiveness with Jesus, especially when it comes down to whether he was in fact God-in-person. C.S. Lewis, a hero in the faith, said it best:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.
The gauntlet is laid down for us. Discover who Jesus really is. Clear up the misconceptions. Rid yourself of untruths about his very nature. Look again at Christ with soft eyes and a responsive spirit, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you things you never knew. Allow God to transform you from the inside, with the power and presence of Jesus Christ.
We encourage you to go on this journey with us. Help us redeem Jesus Christ for you. Help us to stir up your appetite for following him, and keeping your life absolutely sold out and committed to his very ways.
This book says a little about who Jesus is. This book says a little about what Jesus did. But we hope this is not simply a book about Jesus, but rather a book about how you will respond because of Jesus.
*You can purchase the Jesus Christ! book here. This is a copy of the Introduction to this book.
Pete Brookshaw is the Senior Minister of The Salvation Army Craigieburn. He has a Bachelor of both Business and Theology and is passionate about the church being dynamic and effective in the world and creating communities of faith that are outward-focused, innovative, passionate about the lost and committed to societal change. He has been blogging since 2006 at http://www.petebrookshaw.com about leadership and faith and you can find him on:
Peter Brookshaw’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/peter-brookshaw.html