BookSneeze on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing graced me with a complimentary copy of Jesus: A Theograpy in exchange for an honest review. Authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola set out to bring together a look at Jesus' life as well as the theology behind the narrative. They certainly accomplished their goal. Not only does the reader see the historical figure of Jesus in a biographical frame, but also the emotions, beliefs and cultural background that drove Jesus to act. Drawing from history and cultural insights the childhood and preceding years before His ministry are touched upon, which is rather rare.
Most begin the Jesus narrative in the manger, however Sweet and Viola began where the story begins at Genesis, even a bit before as God has always been. From beginning to eternity the authors connect the dots for the reader and bring them into the story. The book points the reader to the First Testament archetypes and the fulfillment of them in Jesus in the Second Testament. The parallels that are drawn out in black and white are astounding and humbling. If every intricacy is brought into the scope of His truth and therefore a believer's faith no one can deny His abundant love for His creation. They also wisely chose to look at the Bible as one narrative, rather than two, adamantly proclaiming the same God is present in both Testaments. The Old Testament and New Testament are referred to as the First Testament and Second Testament respectively, to drive the point home.
Jesus isn't a book to casually keep at the nightstand and pick up occasionally to cure insomnia. The breadth and depth contained in the book is staggering and could be read many times over. Sometimes I have a hard time engaging in my current read which at first was the case with this one. Once, I was midway into it I wanted more and more at the turn of every page. Sweet and Viola they don't simply tell a story; they walk with you through the story. I found my heart thumping in anticipation at the Cross with tears blurring my vision. I was convicted of sin as Jesus' love played out through history.
If you want to meet Jesus for the first time pick up this book. If you want to know Jesus better and more intimately grab this volume and dig in. If you want to study Jesus' life and see in between the lines of the Bible start here. If you want to invigorate your walk come join His journey again. Emotionally I became intertwined with Jesus more than I was before. I hope Jesus is more than you can imagine and bears witness of His story.