'There is no writer in the evangelical world that I admire and appreciate more.'Billy GrahamPhilip Yancey helps reveal what two thousand years of history covered upWhat happens when a respected Christian journalist decides to put his preconceptions aside and take a long look at the Jesus described in the Gospels? How does the Jesus of the New Testament compare to the 'new, rediscovered' Jesus---or even the Jesus we think we know so well? Philip Yancey offers a new and different perspective on the life of Christ and his work---his teachings, his miracles, his death and resurrection---and ultimately, who he was and why he came. From the manger in Bethlehem to the cross in Jerusalem, Yancey presents a complex character who generates questions as well as answers; a disturbing and exhilarating Jesus who wants to radically transform your life and stretch your faith.The Jesus I Never Knew uncovers a Jesus who is brilliant, creative, challenging, fearless, compassionate, unpredictable, and ultimately satisfying. 'No one who meets Jesus ever stays the same,' says Yancey. 'Jesus has rocked my own preconceptions and has made me ask hard questions about why those of us who bear his name don't do a better job of following him.'… (more)
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I would have given it five stars, but for two reasons I could not. In the first place, there were a couple of times I disagreed with Yancey. These were minor, and it probably still would have gained the fifth star with these except for the more major issue.
Even though Yancey tried to get away from our cultural views of Christ, he fell into the largest of cultural traps -- seeing Jesus only as a poor Galilean carpenter. He seems to forget the Jesus that created the world or the Jesus that will return with a sword. By only seeing Jesus in the relatively short 33 years, he loses the magnitude of Christ. The result is what seems to be a hippie Jesus. It is the Jesus that we are most familiar with in today's America, but it is an incomplete picture of Jesus. If Yancey really wanted to blow away cultural stereotypes, he would have reminded us of the Jesus who will return to claim His kingdom; he would have reminded us of the Jesus who spoke the world into being.
So he loses one star by claiming to examine Jesus, but only examining the part he was already comfortable with. A gret book nonetheless, but one that should be a suppliment to Scripture and not take the place of it.
Excellent book (made lots of highlights). I think I agree very much with the author.
There is an author's signature on the title page,
What he learned falls under several broad themes of the book. One, that we have softened Jesus over time, that He was full of grace but also drew clear lines of the way to live that were even more exacting than the original law. Two, that Jesus' controversy of being divine was explosive in His time, while now, it tends to be the reverse - we are all so used to seeing him as the Son of God that it is hard to remember his man nature, which was an equally necessary part of the formula to save us. Three, that many of the issues most addressed by Jesus are underplayed in our society, while we focus on our own problems that are more superficial and that Jesus rarely addressed. We tend to ignore those sins that we all struggle against, like divorce, sexual impurity, lies and dishonesty, and emphasize our own social agendas.
While I enjoy Yancey's writing style, and agreed with his major points, this book was not as gripping as the two others that I have read by him. Perhaps none of his other books can compare to What's So Amazing About Grace, which I absolutely love. I consider this book an interesting read, and useful to further exploration and understanding of Jesus and faith, but not an essential. It didn't convict me, or reveal to me truths about the Bible that were startling and new, or make me feel that it was maturing my faith. A good read, and I am trying to read more and more about my beliefs and the Bible as I think it is important to spend part of my love of reading in service to my God, but there are other religious books out there that have more impact.
I thought this was a very intelligent, perceptive account of the life of Jesus.
Since childhood - in the West anyway - we've all got used to the story of Jesus, and so to see the Virgin Birth, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and all of the other aspects of Jesus' life in their historical,
Phillip Yancey is an incredible writer and, as he states himself, his background is not theology but journalism. This means he approaches subjects from a very analytical perspective, and is often brave enough to say that at certain times in Jesus’ life, he wouldn’t quite know how to act as a bystander.
This is definitely a highly recommended book, and not just for Christians, but for anybody who wants to understand more about the life of Jesus.
It's an absolutely BRILLIANT read !
Yancey raises all kinds of questions: beginning with the Sunday school portrayal of him - a "sweet Victorian nanny" urging children to be nice.
Yancey considers events in Jesus' life: the Temptation: "In the dark about the Incarnation, Satan did not know for certain whether Jesus was an ordinary man or a theophany or perhaps an angel with limited powers like himself"...he views their encounter as "single combat warriors" who "treat each other with a kind of wary respect,, like two boxers circling one another in the ring.". The Beatitudes (how can the poor be "blessed"? and the sheeer impossibility of the exhortation to "be perfect" (arent we doomed to fail?)
The miracles: Why did Jesus at Cana rebuke his mother "my time has not yet come" but then decide to turn water to wine anyway? Yancey imagines him deciding that his time HAD come- the start of his ministry, the celebrity as news of his powers got out..."A clock would start ticking that would not stop until Calvary".
And Death, Resurrection, Ascencion ("Why? Would it not have been better...if Jesus had stayed on earth?"
I think the overwhelming message that came through was FREEDOM ; God wanting us to willingly follow Him. "Consistently Jesus refused to use coercive power. He knowingly let one of his disciples betray him and then surrendered himself without protest to his captors."
Yancey ponders God's kingdom: it "has no geographical borders...it lives and grows on the inside of human beings. Those of us who follow Jesus thus possess a kind of dual citizenship...an external kingdom of family, cities and nationhood, while at the same time belonging to the kingdom of God."
This is just a brilliant book, and I'm going to re-read it immediately and take notes. (and I dont normally do that!) HIGHLY recommended.
Theologically speaking I was struck by Yancey's descriptive of Jesus' last words on the cross. While He was hanging and slowly dying on the cross, Jesus cried out not to Abba, not to Father, but to God. He uses the name of God for the first time in His earthly life. This is when Jesus says, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" This is indicative of a feeling of abandonment, distance, and loneliness. For a brief moment on the cross, Jesus was left alone. Why? God turned His back upon Jesus. God cannot look upon sin and Jesus had become fully sin. He himself did not sin, but He bore the burden of the sins of the world upon Him. He was forsaken, and Jesus in His humanity did not understand why. Was this a result of all the sin that was heaped upon Him while on the cross? Probably.
Understanding Jesus in the way that I have come to understand Him through this book will help me better teach others about Christ. As a missionary to Albania, people who have been oppressed under Communism for many years will relate to the way Jesus lived under oppression. They will also relate to the way that Jesus taught true liberation, a spiritual freedom found only in Jesus Christ.