This is a book I had heard about for a few years but never had the chance to read until just recently, as it was just published in expanded form in the United States for the first time. And what a joy it was to finally get my hands on it! As it happens, I was reading it during a time of particular heartache, but I think my personal situation made the book's words permeate more deeply into my heart. Jesus the Fool is probably one of my favorite books I have ever read about Jesus. Michael Frost has a real gift for communicating (both in person and in his writing), and this particular work provides a necessary, contextual framework for understanding what it means to truly comprehend the real Jesus, a wise "fool" who surprises us at every turn and shows us God's love in unexpected ways through his stories and his actions.
When I first heard Michael Frost speak in person at a conference a few years ago, his most recent book was Exiles, which is another fantastic read and really helped me understand how to be missional in my personal life. His collaborative work with Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, is rightly praised as a manifesto for the larger church of Jesus Christ to be missional in strategic, radically different ways than the attractional approach that has resulted in far too many "megachurches". However, I think Jesus the Fool should be read first, followed by Alan and Michael's really great book ReJesus, because you truly have to understand Jesus in order to be understand the missional mindset. Michael's recurring motif in this book of how Jesus "reframes" our expectations is at once shocking, thought-provoking and ultimately convicting. Every chapter reveals how much Michael Frost loves this wild Messiah named Jesus. And his anecdotes are arresting and memorable as well; one of my favorites is the way he summarizes the book of Hosea, which shows God's relentless pursuit of his people and his devotion to us in spite of our best efforts to disappoint and hurt him.
In the end, I would put Michael's works (as well as those of his frequent collaborator, Alan Hirsch) right up there with N.T. Wright's for understanding God's mission of love and relationship with us, and most importantly, the calling of all who call themselves Christians to reach out beyond themselves and their comfort zones to risk everything for the sake of the gospel. I don't pretend to live up to the calling in any way, and most of the time I kick myself when I reflect on missed opportunities to live a missional life, but books like Jesus the Fool help inspire and convict me to keep at it. This book will change your life if you read it with an open mind.