In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asks his disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” That’s a question that we, as Christians, need to ask ourselves today. For too many of us, Jesus is a great teacher or self-help guru. As Michael Card said (in “Know You in the Now”), “We’ve made You in our image, so our faith’s idolatry.” Indeed, the Jesus that shows up too often in middle class America looks an awful lot like a middle class American!!
Jared Wilson wrote Your Jesus Is Too Safe to help us start to better understand who Jesus is and develop a true understanding of the Gospel. And he’s done an excellent job! He has twelve chapters, each of which discusses an aspect of Jesus – e.g. Jesus as Shepherd, Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Savior, etc. – to help us find who Jesus really is.
Here are some things I found particularly of interest. In “Jesus the Man”, Jared skillfully deals with the tension between Jesus’ divinity and humanity. So many of us as Evangelicals don’t like to think about Jesus being truly human, but our picture of Jesus is incomplete without really understanding this part of Him. Jared gives a nice birds’ eye view of Jesus’ life and then discusses why Jesus’ humanity was so important.
One of my favorite chapters was “Jesus the Provision”. As a stay-at-home Mom who enjoys cooking (and has kids who enjoy cooking), I spend a lot of time thinking about food, purchasing food, trying to save money on food, cooking meals, cleaning up from meals, etc. (you get the picture). In this chapter, Jared shows how Jesus ministry was often based around meals and then goes on to discuss how Jesus is our provision. He weaves into this both the Gospel and the sacraments. Powerful stuff.
Jared Wilson’s writing is clear and easy to understand. He uses a number of cultural references, not all of which I understood, but I’m pretty sure that’s because I’m a 42 year old homemaker and not a 28 year old hip, urban single. I did have issue with one thing. He inserted a good bit of humor, which was fine, except that sometimes it came right in the middle of a serious passage and was rather jarring. I think a little more discretion in the use of humor could have made some of those spots more effective.
So, I give this book an A+ in my rating scale. It is not hard to read, but it is meaty stuff. This book has motivated me to go back to the Gospels and re-evaluate my picture of Jesus. Have I made Him in my image? Or have I allowed Scripture to speak for itself?
Jared C. Wilson is a pastor and an award-winning writer whose articles, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications.
A minister for over a decade, he has become known for his passionate gospel-centered teaching and strong calls for missional Christianity.
Jared's book Your Jesus is Too Safe is now available from Kregel Publications wherever Christian books are sold.
Encounter his passion for the ongoing reformation of the evangelical church almost daily at www.gospeldrivenchurch.com.