The question, “Who is Jesus?” is of perennial importance to biblical Christianity. It is a question that has often been discussed, debated and fought over in the history of the Church. Even today the question, “Who is Jesus? continues to cause great consternation. The question, “Who is Jesus?” is loudly answered by the Gospel writers and the Apostles in their various epistles. While there is not a lack of information about Jesus, often times the information coming out from the question, “Who is Jesus?” is from those in academia. In such books, scholars define the person and work of Jesus against attacks from those who want to do away with the majority of the words of Jesus in the Gospels or from those who minimize His finished work. What has been needed is more books written for lay people answering the question, “Who is Jesus?” Thankfully now there is in Who Is Jesus? by Greg Gilbert.
The question, “Who is Jesus?” is the question the Gospel of Luke spends the first nine chapters answering. Luke ends this section with the statement in Luke 9:51 that Jesus set His face to Jerusalem. After this, Jesus focuses on His disciples until He heads to Gethsemane to be betrayed by Judas, and make His way to the cross to die. John spends considerable time in His Gospel explaining who Jesus is. He moves between focusing on the message or content of the gospel which is to propel his readers to engage in the mission of God. For the Gospel writers, understanding who Jesus is leads to living out the demands of the Gospel. In other words, following Jesus results in taking up the cross and following Jesus in all of life. While the Gospel writers emphasize in narrative form that truth—the epistles spell it out much clearer particularly Paul with his emphasis on the finished work of Christ propelling or fueling the Christian’s obedience, and service to Christ.
All of this is central to the question, “Who is Jesus?” and to Greg Gilbert’s book since he seeks to deal with misconceptions about Jesus. He does this by dealing with errors regarding the person and work of Jesus today, and then seeks to show the supremacy of Jesus and His saving work. Along the way He shows the triumph of Jesus, the Last Adam, the Lamb of God who died in the place of sinners for their sin, and who will return one day as the Lion who will roar and defeat His enemies with the Sword which is the Word of God. Gilbert also deals with the resurrection of Christ. The book concludes with a look at who readers say Jesus is. This is especially important because as the Puritans taught, Jesus divided His audience. People in the Gospels stopped following Jesus after they told Him to pick up their Cross and follow Him. They stopped following Him after He said hard words that they didn’t want to follow and obey. People today do the same. They want a cuddly Jesus, or a Jesus who will entertain them. They want a good moral teacher. They want to hear how Jesus will comfort them in the midst of their daily lives. They do not want the Son of God who died in the place of sinners for their sin, who leaves the ninety-nine and goes after the one lost sheep. Even if they do want that they don’t want to hear about the demands of the gospel. Instead, they want an easy Jesus who makes no demands on their lives. Instead of the glory of the Risen Christ—many of us have exchanged the biblical Jesus for a Jesus of our own making. The Jesus of the Bible calls us to know who He is and to be able to give a reason for the hope we have in Him. We are to do this with gentleness and respect since He calls us to be holy as a result of our new inheritance in Him!
Whether you’re a new or seasoned Christian, the question, “Who is Jesus?” ought to be one that you are serious about knowing the answer to. This is why I recommend Who Is Jesus? by Greg Gilbert. This book will help you to understand that question and to deepen your understanding and knowledge of the work of Christ. If you’ve never before studied who Jesus is and what He demands, I encourage you to pick up this book as a starting place. I highly recommend this book and believe every Christian will benefit from reading it and growing in their knowledge, and understanding of the finished work of Christ.