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 difficult—and necessary—explanations 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.

Related Elsewhere:

Surprised By Jesus is available through Christianbook.com and other retailers.

InterVarsity Press has more on the book, including the first chapter.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.