Jesus: An Intimate Portrait

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I enjoyed this book immensely; Jesus: An Intimate Portrait of the Man, His Land, and His People is written clearly and easily and provides an engaging story of the life of Jesus.

The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell complimentary stories of Jesus, and one must read all four gospels to understand the life of Jesus. In Jesus: An Intimate Portrait, author Leith Anderson takes all four gospels and rearranges them chronologically so that the story of Jesus comes to life in an easy to read cohesive story. From the conception of Mary to the crucifixion, historical details are woven into the story so that you feel like you’re part of the story as Jesus grows into the great teacher and Messiah.

For instance, three of the four gospels tell of Jesus healing a man’s hand on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-14, Mark 3:1-5, and Luke 6:6-11. Here’s how it reads in Jesus: An Intimate Portrait:

Jesus asked a man with a misshapen hand to come out of the audience and stand in front of the congregation. The mood must have been tense as both his friends and his enemies watched to see that would happen. Jesus looked right at his critics and asked them, “Which do you say is lawful on the Sabbath to do: to do good or to do evil? Is it better to save life or to kill life?” The religious leaders were trapped. If they said to heal the man, they were doing exactly what they accused Jesus of doing, condoning work on the Sabbath. If they said not to heal the man, they were lacking compassion and saying that he wasn’t worth even as much as one of their sheep. So they say in silence.

Their silence provoked Jesus because of their verbal games and stubbornness. He turned to the man standing before them all and told him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and it was completely normal.

The Pharisees were furious with Jesus for embarassing them in front of the synagogue congregation and were more determined than ever to kill him. In their anger they arranged a meeting with another political party, the Herodians, to see if they would join in a plan to have Jesus eliminated.

The story comes to life and filled in with the emotions, the motives, and the political landscape from birth to death. A highly enjoyable read for all ages.

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