When Jesus says, “All Scripture points to me” (John 5:39, what does that mean exactly? Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, both authors of Jesus Manifesto, return with their answer: Jesus, a Theography, released today. They show that the 27 books of the second Testament (aka New Testament) are largely a commentary on the first Testament (aka Old Testament). Where written biographies of Jesus try to shine a light on the historical Jesus, these books give little attention given to the grand storyline of the Bible. Many theologist on the other side aren’t interested in historical Jesus studies. Though advertized as meant to both seasoned Christians, new believers or fellows only intrigued by Jesus, this Theography requires a lot of its reader. Greek and Hebrew words, while their meanings are explained, are thrown in. Lots of Bible verses and passages, with most exact locations in the Scripture hidden through end-notes. Furthermore, Sweet & Viola, use a lot of allegories, connecting dots in several ways, that only longtime Christians can recognize and position easily.
The Grand Story of Jesus Christ doesn’t start at Christmas Eve, in Bethlehem, not even in Genesis 1, but before time, in the Triune God. From there a non-linear, mainly thematic journey with Christ unfolds: before time, in creation, birth and boyhood, missing years between age 12 and 30 and his preparation for ministry. You follow Him while He’s baptized by his nephew John and tempted afterwards by the devil. Jesus’ disciples, mission, healing and miracles, teachings and sermons, but also his human side (where did He live, what emotions did he show?) are digged. Jesus’ Trial and Crucifixion, with explorations of the atonement and the harrowing of Hell, resurrection, ascension to heaven and Pentecoast. Finally, the authors share some thoughts on the return of the King.
Of you’re familiar with The Jesus Manifesto and From Eternity to Here, you’ll recognize the ageless purpose of God and the crucial role of His Son, Jesus Christ in that mission. The allegorical treatment of facts, colours, figures and names distracted me at first, but the main message kept me reading along and enjoying this new work from Sweet & Viola. Be prepared to adjust your beliefs, knowledge and appreciation of God’s work.