The King is back! For four hundred years there had been no prophet in Israel. God was there, but He had gone silent. Then, suddenly, from out of the wilderness, there was heard the voice of John the Baptist crying, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low, the crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation” (Lk. 3:4-6).
And then, unannounced and without fanfare, there He was! He looked so common, so ordinary, but this One was a different kind of Man. And heaven could no longer remain silent. “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Mk. 1:11). John the Baptist could but remark, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The King was back in Zion!
There were healings, there were celebrations, and the voice of God was heard again. “Love your enemies … take up your cross … your sins are forgiven … come unto me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” This was not the expected message; something new was happening. Not even the prophets understood what was about to take place. But God, in Jesus Christ, had returned, in person, to his people. The King was back!
I must tell you that the person and the ministry of Jesus have been my passion for the last 50 years. In pursuit of God, I soon learned that, although I may never fully understand God, what I can know of Him was demonstrated and disclosed in Jesus. Consequently, I have spent much of my life driven by a passion to know and understand Jesus in all the fulness of his glory and to share my discoveries with my generation.
If I am to develop my theme successfully, it is imperative that, from the beginning, we understand the model God has given us to emulate. Jesus was the prototype. He was what we are meant to be. That privilege was first given to Adam and we know what he did with his calling. But God was not to be thwarted and he gave us a new model, a perfect man, whom we could follow in every facet of our lives.
The call to be living models is no pipe-dream. In Him, we find the pattern of what we are meant to be and in Him, we discover the strength to make our journey a success.
I agree with N. T. Wright, whom I quote often in this book. “I have been particularly concerned to put into the minds, hearts, and hands of the next generation of thinking Christians the Jesus-shaped model of, and motivation for, a mission that will transform our world in the power of Jesus’ gospel” (Wright, Challenge, p. 11). Much of my formal study, therefore, has focused on Jesus: his life, his theology, and his message. He is what my life … and this book … is all about.
You want to talk about it? Hit me up at [email protected]