The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

I bought The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey a few years ago when I wanted to learn more about Jesus. I had been asked questions that were difficult to answer and I thought that I needed to learn more to try to deal with these questions. I needed need to take the paper cut out of Jesus off of the felt board and put life to Him. I also find the history behind the New Testament to be very interesting as well. As it turned out, I found one of the best books that I have read.

To write this review I read the book for the third time and I find more new and interesting things each time I read it. This third reading will probably not be the last. I think I keep reading this book because it makes me think. Philip Yancey does not write in a style that shoves the information down your throat. He puts thoughts, ideas, quotes and facts before you that make you think. I really appreciate his writing style; it is as though he is struggling through it as he is writing it just as I struggle through it as I read it.

I would like to give you a few quotes from The Jesus I Never Knew that I liked:

“Oddly, as I look back on Jesus’ time from the present perspective, it is the very ordinariness of the disciples that gives me hope. Jesus does not seem to choose his followers on the basis of native talent or perfectibility or potential for greatness.”

“Somehow we have created a community of respectability in the church, I told my class. The down-and-out, who flocked to Jesus when he lived on earth, no longer feel welcome. How did Jesus, the only perfect person in history, manage to attract the notoriously imperfect? And what keeps us from following in his steps today?”

“The feeding of the five thousand illustrates why Jesus, with all the supernatural powers at his command, showed such ambivalence toward miracles. They attracted crowds and applause, yes, but rarely encouraged repentance and long-tem faith. He was bringing a hard message of obedience and sacrifice, not a sideshow for gawkers and sensation-seekers.”

“Some see miracles as an implausible suspension of the laws of the physical universe. As signs, though, they serve just the opposite function. Death, decay, entropy, and destruction are the true suspensions of God’s laws; miracles are the early glimpses of restoration.”

This last quote caught me by surprise. Shortly before buying this book I had bought a CD called Underdog by Audio Adrenaline. This CD’s title song, Underdog, had a part in it where there is a quote spoken behind the music. When I first read this quote in the book I thought, I’ve heard this before. “Underdog. I wince even as I write the word, especially in connection with Jesus. Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus I cannot help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog.”

These are just some of the quotes that spoke to me in the book. I’m sure that if you read this book there will be many that speak to you.

The chapters in The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey include:

The Jesus I Thought I Knew
Birth: The Visited Planet
Background: Jewish Roots and Soil
Temptation: Showdown in the Desert
Profile: What Would I Have Noticed?
Beatitudes: Lucky Are the Unlucky
Message: A Sermon of Offense
Mission: A Revolution of Grace
Miracles: Snapshots of the Supernatural
Death: The Final Week
Resurrection: A Morning Beyond Belief
Ascension: A Blank Blue Sky
Kingdom: Wheat Among the Weeds
The Difference He Makes

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Jesus I Never Knew

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