I took advantage of the last couple of plane rides I had to finish reading NT Wright’s The Challenge of Jesus. I got this book for a quarter at a used bookstore the other year and just finally got around to reading it. It was not my first reading of NT, so I kind of knew what I was getting myself into.
The Challenge of Jesus sets out to help us rediscover who Jesus was and who He is. A monumental task that NT sets out to do in volumes of work, and I believe the Challenge of Jesus is just a portion of a larger volume.
I enjoyed the book, though it did read a little scholarly. There were points where NT came off a bit full of himself. But, I think there has to be some of that to make it in the scholarly realm. So, I didn’t mind it for the most part.
The first part of the book explains to the reader the need for the quest for the historical Jesus. A task that is often overlooked by Christians, because we’ve already found Him. NT challenges that claim and fights hard to help us put Jesus within His correct Jewish context in order to allow us to understand Him best as New Testament believers today. (If you’re familiar with NT you know that when Jesus is put within the correct historical standards it becomes all about the resurrection. how we live as resurrection people and how we long to have our bodies resurrected and the new heavens and the new earth, great stuff).
He doesn’t stop there though. NT takes the chance to show us exactly what it means today and how we can share Jesus as the light of the world. Honestly, at the end of the book, he gives the best definition I’ve seen for post-modernism. It really gave me better categories for which to understand post modern people.
As always, my critique for books like this is how it plays out for my parents. They’ll never read a book like this, but I still think they know who Jesus is. Wright seems to claim that no one can understand Jesus outside of understanding everything about the Jewish mindset and world in the first century. I have to believe that the Bible is more approachable than that. I do believe that the Bible is more approachable than that.
Good read though and I’d recommend it if you like NT or want something a little more scholarly than my last review…