Jesus: A Theography

As I write this, we are in the midst of Advent. Advent, an astonishing time of giving and gathering, is when we celebrate the coming of Jesus while waiting with breathless anticipation for the coming again of Jesus. Jesus comes to us in our personal lives as he came to his first followers inviting to come and see that God is good and that the best is yet to come. Advent looks back to what happened then, now in our very lives, and to the future glory for the coming of the Kingdom of God among us.

I thought it would be good to suggest a book about Jesus, a book that has provoked worship in me. Without a doubt, the best book on the life of Jesus that I have ever read. Spanning the entire epic of the Bible: Jesus: A Theography is the first book to combine historical Jesus studies with biblical theology, creating together one breathtaking saga that tells the Jesus story in both Testaments. This book demonstrates clearly that every bit of Scripture is part of the same stunning drama, what the authors call the theography of Jesus Christ.

In this compelling work, Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola reclaim the entire Bible as a gripping narrative about Jesus Christ. The twenty-seven books of the New Testament are largely a commentary on the Old Testament, and each part of the Bible is a signpost to Jesus. With this properly understood, everything changes. Reading this book helped me discover a Jesus who is larger, more glorious, and more challenging than most of us have ever imagined. A Jesus both more real and more divine than usually seen, I want to understand what it means to follow this Jesus.

Jesus biographies generally have been written by those trying to investigate the historical Jesus with little attention given to the grand narrative of Scripture. Those interested in tracing the theology of Scripture are typically disinterested in historical Jesus studies. These two approaches converge in this book to produce a deep yet approachable work that can help us understand who Jesus is and why it matters.

Every other “Jesus biography” begins with the nativity account in Bethlehem. In this groundbreaking book, Sweet and Viola begin before time, in the Triune God, and tell the complete interconnected story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. This has the power not only to point out who Jesus is, but guide readers to a deeper reading of the Bible.

While written for the average reader as well as scholars. Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola unfold the greatest story ever told in a fresh invigorating way. Whether you are a seasoned Christian, a new believer, or someone intrigued by Jesus, this book reveals the discoveries of a lifetime, transforming the familiar into an electrifying journey of rediscovering Christ. I hope to study this book more. If you only read one book on Jesus this year, make it this one. It will not disappoint.

This book went beyond my expectations. I have not much exposure to Frank Viola, but I know want to read more by him. I had previously read Leonard Sweet most recently I am a follower. I’ve enjoyed his thoughtful style and connective dialogue to modern culture. His abundance of quotes is also intriguing. He always seems able to find the most apt quote. This book is a deep and honest study of the incarnation of Christ. I have not read another book that is so deeply incarnational before or as committed to fleshing out the grand biblical narrative. I read it slower than normal for personal study and devotion.

I enjoyed soaking in each page. There were times when I had to stop and pray or just sit in wonder. The presence of Jesus is palpable in the 16 chapters of this book. C.H. Spurgeon, T.S. Eliot, N.T. Wright, G.K. Chesterton, Max Lucado, E. Stanley Jones, Andrew Murray, Brenan Manning, and many other followers of Christ have their words and work seamlessly interwoven into and among countless scripture references. This book almost seems like a portable course on who Jesus is and why it changes everything.


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