More then the title, “The JESUS We Missed” grabbing my attention was the tag line, “The Surprising Truth about the Humanity of Christ.” I kept waiting for the “Aha” experience in reading Patrick Henry Reardon’s book.
The “Aha” never came, though there were quite a number of “Ah” moments. I wasn’t surprised as much as I was able to dig a bit deeper into who Jesus is.
Reardon is at his best when he honors the 4 unique voices of the Gospel writers with the 1 common message of Jesus they share. His strength is analysis of the text, especially in comparing them with others. Reardon looks for contrasts, not contradictions.
Ah moments happened for me in reading about the baptism of Jesus, in comparing Mary’s recorded conversations with Jesus in Luke 2 or John 2, or some of the unique themes he picks up in Matthew’s gospel account, a good look at the different style of questions Jesus used, or finding an Adam / Jesus contrast in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus used. These Ah moments made the book valuable for me to read, but there was no big surprise.
Yet throughout the book, though there was an emphasis on the humanity of Jesus. There weren’t any hidden surprises for me. Good affirmations, some great biblical exegesis, but no surprises. Each chapter I felt did not delve into the humanity of Jesus, but his life. That Jesus is both 100% God and at the same time 100% man is affirmed by Reardon quite well. In the history of the Christian faith, there have been great controversies and great creeds in dealing with these issues. Yet I felt the book was more about Jesus life then discovering a surprising truth about His humanity.
As a Christ follower for all of my life and as a pastor, I feel the book is written more for a college course or early seminary course on the life of Jesus. If you are investigating Jesus for the first time, the theological language occasionally used will leave you a bit lost. For me The Jesus I Never Knew by Phil Yancey had more Aha moments and would be for a wider reading audience.
For the many Ah moments in the book, I give it 4 stars. If there had been some Aha moments, it would have gotten 5.
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