It’s a new year, and a new opportunity to read 52 books once again.
Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by John Ortberg is a well-written, witty and insightful survey of the life and world-changing impact of Jesus of Nazareth. Ortberg does a good job showing the breadth and width of Jesus’ impact throughout the centuries. He shows how this humble carpenter’s son is the reason today we have hospitals, schools, universities, medicine, modern science, care for the poor, orphanages, cemeteries, and many kinds of arts. Ortberg shows the remarkable ways Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection have spurred on and overturned entire civilizations.
I do have a few critiques of the book though. While Ortberg rightly points out the shortcomings of those who claim to be followers of Christ through the ages, one could conclude with the modern popular idea; “Give me Jesus, I don’t need the church.” To do so, however, would be tragic since Jesus loves the church, His Bride, and desires all of His followers to be active members of “the Body of Christ”. Also, at times, Ortberg seems to go out of his way to show that Jesus would have compassion on all things humanitarian and liberal, while neglecting Jesus’s holiness and wrath against sin. In a book about that asks the question, “Who is this man?”, I find it curious that Ortberg neglects the descriptions of Jesus found in the book of Revelation.
Overall, I enjoyed the book.