Glenn Lucke at Common Grounds:
1. Jared marshals top flight biblical scholarship, owns it, and makes it digestible.
2. He slings the slang with the best of 'em. His paraphrases provoke the mind and make it itch…they compel me to look afresh at biblical texts and living Jesus' teachings in my life today.
3. Jared is funny. Page after page. Often a chuckle, at times laugh out loud funny.
4. The focus, intensely, is on Jesus.
Zach Nielsen at Vitamin Z:
My first impression of this book was that it would be a great tool for discipleship. It's not hard to read, but Jared certainly dives into some concepts that are deep, yet very important for every believer to understand. He unpacks them in a way that is readable, informal, but not shallow or lacking.
From an interview with Ben Reed at Life & Theology:
Ben: You talk a lot about who Jesus is in the book. Does it really matter what we believe? I mean, shouldn’t Christians be all about “doing” and stop “thinking” so much?
Jared: Yes, if you think there won’t be people who say to Jesus at the judgment “We did x, y, and z for you” to whom he says in response, “I have no idea who you are.”
The “doing without thinking” thing is precisely what leads to self-righteousness.
This week I’ve begun a series through Colossians at our church, and one thing that has sort of struck me for the first time as I prepare, is that Paul’s letters, which are full of practical exhortations and behavioristic commands, nearly always begin with some hard core doxological proclamation of the gospel. Philippians has it, Ephesians has it, Colossians has it. And it’s sort of like, for Paul’s writing, the gospel is huge at the introduction in order to provide the momentum for the hills and valleys of the practical stuff. The gospel has to be the thing that pushes us, propels us, carries us through, like the first big drop of a roller coaster. Or else we end up thinking life is all about the little “doings” and, worse, that we’re doing those “doings” under our own power.
For those of you who are looking for something to re-direct your eyes to Jesus, this book is for you. I’m still reeling from chapter 7, Jesus the Redeemer, and what it means for my personal life. I’ve truly experienced some reckoning moments while reading Your Jesus Is Too Safe, and I think that’s something any pastor who writes a book can thank God for. Wilson’s very pastoral in his writing, meaning he won’t just tell you what to do or give you data, he will lead you to Christ, carefully, sincerely and with purpose. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Who knew a serious, rather meaty theological book could be so funny and easy to read? I chuckled out loud at several of the footnotes (I may not speak aloud to books, but I do laugh aloud while reading them when warranted). Now I won't ever be able to read the Psalms without thinking of David as the first emo kid.
Jesus the Redeemer is probably my favorite chapter, and I appreciated the story shared by Wilson's cousin, Steve Jones. The book is well written and engaging, thought-provoking and convicting. Mostly it made me aware that Jesus is awesome!
Written in a wonderfully readable style, the book is grounded firmly over and over again in the pages of the Bible. And yet Wilson has a great ability to blend those biblical passages with accurate, thought-provoking, and informational facts about the historical context that add richness to the study of the Bible.
I loved the fact that throughout the entire the book the Gospel is kept center stage as each characteristic of Jesus is explained and then the book closes with the simplicity of the Gospel as well. “Today is the day of salvation. The kingdom is at hand. Repent and believe. If you will confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” What better way to close out a book about Jesus then with the beautiful saving message He came to declare.
From an interview with Daniel at the Christian Church of Jasper Blog:
Daniel: Our area is rooted in German Catholic heritage and along with that comes a deep-rooted belief that good works are the path to heaven. Please explain to readers of the blog your view on faith and works and salvation.
Jared: Well, my view is the historic, orthodox Christian view, with a sharp Protestant edge of course, that, as Paul says, "by the works of the law will no man be justified" and "it is by grace we are saved, not a result of our works, so that none of us can boast."
But that's all theological.
Practically speaking, I'm a big fan of salvation by grace because a) I'm an idiot and would hate to think salvation depended on how high, big, far, long, or good I can be, and b) I'd have no idea how good is good enough. It's a recipe for despair, which Martin Luther discovered in the depths of depression and frustration.The Bible basically says perfection is required, and if that's the case, I think we're all in trouble.
And in swoops the gospel. The only man who was ever perfect offered himself as the perfect sacrifice so that we might be reckoned perfect by his work, not ours. It's a great message and it's unique to Christianity. No other religion has grace as part of their game. I think those who really get it just can't help but find it so awesome.
The great risk Jared took with this book—one which he himself acknowledges—is that in looking at Jesus from twelve different perspectives, he might have "inadvertently propose[d] twelve different Jesuses, creating intellectual confusion where the purpose has been to enhance clarity." I think, though, that he has avoided that quite successfully by tracing one strong theme through all twelve chapters: "the great unifying presence of the gospel." This is the hub of which the twelve perspectives are spokes, as he lays out in the conclusion of the twelfth chapter.