I first heard of Jared Wilson through his excellent blog, the Gospel Driven Church which I have followed for a few years now, and so have been looking forward to reading my first book by him. He is an excellent communicator, and, as his blog title implies, brings a gospel-centred approach to all the subjects he addresses.
This is a book about Jesus – a subject that is well deserving of our attention. The blurb and preface led me to expect that this would be a deconstruction of various popular misconceptions of Jesus such as “hippie Jesus, Grammy Award Jesus, Role Model Jesus, Buddy Jesus” etc. But his approach is instead to go to the Scriptures and highlight twelve aspects of who Jesus is.
Each chapter deals with a title or role of Jesus. For example, Jesus the Prophet, Jesus the Shepherd, Jesus the Sacrifice, Jesus the Lord. The book is theologically and biblically rich. With each topic he weaves in some helpful historical and Old Testament background information to help illuminate the already familiar stories of and teachings of Jesus from the gospels.
As might be expected from someone who blogs for the Gospel Coalition, he draws from the likes of John Piper, Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll. But he also brings in insights from NT Wright and Dallas Willard which brings a greater breadth to the overall message of the book.
His sense of humour is infused throughout the book, with plenty of quips and gags which give it a light-hearted feel. It made for an enjoyable read, although it felt a little incongruous in places as he juxtaposes a wise-crack with a profound thought.
This isn’t a book of radically new insights, but its chief value is in focusing us in on the person of Jesus, and allowing his own radical and challenging message and identity to be impressed on us again. It would be helpful for a Christian who finds the gospels to have become over-familiar and uninspiring to see Jesus from some fresh perspectives.