So, what is Jesus really like? Many movies, books and even sermons have tried to describe Him, often with somewhat one-dimensional results, portraying Him as simply an icon of holiness and wisdom, without a lot of passion. In their book Jesus: A Theography, authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola paint a vivid and fascinating picture of this Savior, the God/man who walked the earth. Combining historical studies with biblical theology, Sweet and Viola demonstrate how “each part of the Bible is a signpost to Jesus,” telling His story from the beginning — not in a Bethlehem stable, but from “eternity past,” as the pre-existent Son, to His second coming as the risen Lord. They show that, while Jesus’ words comprise only about 20 percent of the New Testament, the story behind those words is without beginning or end.
The authors explore in depth not only the divinity of Jesus, but, perhaps even more compellingly for the reader, His approachable humanity … the flesh, bone and emotion in which the Light of the World was wrapped as He walked with mankind. They offer glimpses into His sense of humor, His radical (for the time) view of women, His choice of a blue-collar career, His very human experiences of exhaustion, stress, hunger, compassion, anger and grief, to name a few. And Sweet and Viola give an extensive look at the enormous act of the crucifixion, when Jesus “took the Roman instrument of torture and transformed it into an instrument of deliverance, salvation and ultimately, peace.”
At 333 pages in hardcover and over 80 pages of end notes, this is not an afternoon-on-the-beach read. It is a volume to be savored slowly, allowing the pages to reveal insights into the character of the most astonishing person ever to exist — Jesus.