Every era needs a writer who will interpret Jesus for a new generation. To some degree, N. T. Wright has done this for the academically inclined layperson and scholar. Tim Stafford has done this for today's laity.
This is not a thoroughgoing examination of Jesus' life. Nor is it a complete survey of his deeds and words. This is an attempt to give modern application to the chief events in Jesus' life. What sets it apart (aside from numerous personal stories) is that Stafford, a ct senior writer, uses the contextual exegesis that New Testament scholars have employed for 25 years. Jesus' sayings are not timeless records of pious inspiration. They are words anchored to a particular context with a history and a culture. When this context is understood, new insights emerge.
Stafford takes on the individualism of the West as well as the political pressures of Jesus' day with great success. The one difficulty with an approach that strives for practical application, however, is that the difficultand necessaryexplanations are often missed. This is true when Stafford answers the question of the meaning of Jesus' death (Atonement). Instead of explaining it, we hear a riveting story about martyrdom in Sri Lanka.
This is a solid book that will enrich any reflection on Jesus' life and its meaning in the contemporary world. Small groups, personal study, even sermons will find new ideas here for modern use.
Surprised By Jesus is available through Christianbook.com and other retailers.1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more