Review: Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

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I received an advance electronic copy of this book for an honest review.

I had looked forward to reading this book, but I had no idea what was in store for me. I’ve heard and read that all of Scripture can be read through the lens of Christ, but I had felt, at times, some of the observations were a bit stretched. I have to admit Sweet and Viola have not only convinced me that Jesus is the center, the point, and focus of both testaments, but they have also inspired me to read the bible differently. A few times I felt a bit overwhelmed by Jesus and Scripture.
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N. T. Wright on Heaven

I saw this and just knew I had to add it to one of my blogs:

(a) Heaven is important but it’s not the end of the world: in the mainstream Christian tradition until the Platonists corrupted it, the ultimate destination is THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH, which will involve an ultimate resurrection (bodily, of course) for God’s people (in some versions, for all people). The way the phrase ‘heaven and hell’ are used today implies you go straight to one or the other, ignoring the solid biblical testimony to an ultimate new creation in which heaven and earth are brought together in a great act of renewal (for those who want it, check out Ephesians 1.10, Revelation 21 and 22, Romans 8.18-27 and 1 Corinthians 15.20-28 — though once you see this theme it’s there everywhere). When Paul says ‘my desire is to depart and be with Christ which is far better’, and when Jesus says ‘today you will be with me in Paradise’, the wider context of both indicates that this will be a TEMPORARY state prior to the eventual resurrection into the new creation. This means (by the way) that the ‘second coming’ is NOT Jesus ‘coming back to take us home’, but Jesus coming — or ‘reappearing’, as 1 John 3 and Colossians 3 put it — to heal, judge and rescue this present creation and us with it.

Here’s the source link from the Washington Post.

Palm Sunday Reflection

Good reflection from N. T. Wright on Mark 11:1-11 (Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem)


Over the next few chapters, in fact, Mark will show us what Jesus meant when, in chapter 10, he radically redefined kingship. This is not to be the sort of royalty that either Israel or the rest of the world were used to. But the passage already raises questions for us in our own following of Jesus and loyalty to him. Are we ready to put our property at his disposal, to obey his orders even when the puzzle us? Are we ready to go out of our way to honour him finding in our own lives the equivalents of cloaks to spread on the road before him, and branches to wave to make his coming into a real festival? Or have we so domesticated and trivialized our Christian commitment, our devotion to Jesus himself, that we look on him simply as someone to help us through the various things we want to do anyway, someone to provide us with comforting religious experiences? In our world where most countries don’t have kings and queens, and where those monarchies that remain are mostly constitutional offices with the real power lying elsewhere, have we forgotten what, in biblical terms, a true king might be like?

They Like Jesus


And here we are getting at the root of the matter. A Jesus who does not look like us, doesn’t talk like us, doesn’t dress like us, and lives according to a different culture is alien to us. He is very hard to identify with. Instead of changing ourselves into an image more like his which requires hard work and not a little imagination, it is so much easier to mentally change him into the image of ourselves. And this domestication of Jesus if taken to an extreme (for instance with the Aryan Jesus concept) becomes in fact idolatry— the attempt to recreate God in our own image. But for most of us, it never goes that far. We just desperately want Jesus to be approachable, someone we could actually imagine emulating.

[Ben Witherington]


This is from Ben Witherington III’s blog. When I read it, I thought of the reports that people seem to like Jesus (when they do polls and such), yet, they have a low view of the church. Whenever I see articles reporting that Jesus is held in high regard, I always ask myself, “What Jesus?” My feeling is that the people responding to these polls really haven’t taken time to know who Jesus is, or what He calls us to. If so, then they either wouldn’t hold in in such high regard, or they would be living a very different kind of life. I believe that Witherinton is right, we would rather change Jesus to match our image, than to change ourselves to match His. For us to match His image means that we too must take up a cross…..

While I believe that what I’ve written isn’t Witherington’s point in the article, I believe the tendancy to create a new Jesus based on our likes and our image (Jesus as my fishin’ buddy) should be explored.