I have just finished reading Simply Jesus by Bishop N.T. Wright. This amazing book is essential reading for anyone desiring a greater appreciation and understanding of the mission of Jesus Christ.
In part one, Bishop Wright examines the three influences that converged to form the time in which Jesus lived and ministered. There was the eschatological hope of Israel as they watched and waited for their promised King. There was the world dominating influence of the Roman Empire. Above and beyond them all was the God who had been working since the beginning of time for the fulfillment of His own divine agenda. Each of these influences are examined in light of the Kingdom of God coming in the Person of Jesus Christ. As a result we get a view of the Lord Jesus in the proper time and space in which He walked among us.
Part two examines the message and movements of the Lord Jesus and how they related to the inaugural campaign of God becoming King. The stories Jesus told, His death, resurrection and ascension are all viewed from the perspective of the Kingdom agenda. I found Wright’s insights regarding Jesus and the Temple especially interesting.
In the third part, Bishop Wright sums up how all of this relates to us today. Hope is given that the ministry of the church is not a irrelevant side issue, but rather a very important part of how God exercises His reign in the earth today. While God certainly doesn’t need the Church to carry out His work, He has chosen in grace to use it to demonstrate what it looks like when He is in charge.
While N.T. Wright is a profound scholar, I found the overall tone of the book to be that of one’s favourite person in the world relating the most engaging story. A warm and comfortable read, it will appeal to the scholar and the working man alike. This is one of those books you will want to read again and again. I believe it will be an important piece in God’s arsenal to equip His people to truly live in the Reign.
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