Gregory A. Barker is a Lutheran minister; this little book is his attempt to compare and to some extent reconcile the view of different religions on Jesus - and it works remarkably well. Barker does not rely on his own interpretations, but enlists the contributions of individuals not only representing the mainstream opinion of each major religion, but illustrating the range of different views.
Barker enlists the aid of Dr. Mary Grey to explore one Christian view of Jesus: "God is not only a transcendent deity about whom we can speak, but a person with whom we can speak. Without Jesus God is only transcendent: "out there", observable, but not communicable. Jesus is the bridge by which the gap is spanned and humanity enters into God's own space, values and dreams ... Jesus is the subject of the Christian religion, but Jesus is not the religion." To express the Buddhist view of Jesus, Barker calls on four different experts. According to former Roman Catholic and now Professor of Tibetan Buddhist studies, Buddhism embraces "Jesus' espousal of a radical egalitarianism: something infinitely more terrifying than contemporary democracy in its repudiation of class boundaries and hierarchies; in its skepticism about institutions; and in its empathy with, and prioritizing of, the cause of the poor and downtrodden in society." Amaratavati Buddhist Sister Ajahn Candasiri explains that because Buddhism is based on teaching, rather than a god-figure, it also embraces the idea of Jesus as a teacher - "a man of great presence, enormous energy and compassion, and significant psychic abilities. He also has a great gift for conveying spiritual truth in the form of images, using the most everyday things to illustrate points he wishes to make: bread, fields, corn, salt, children, trees."
Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad comments on the view of the Hindu Swami Vivekananda on Jesus: "He thought of him as a realized soul, whose realization consisted in his recognition that he and God were one ... a culturally specific prophet who had taught this lesson of identity ... like the great figures of other traditions, like the Buddha, and Krishna." He also refers to Gandhi's view of Jesus "primarily in terms of his being the embodiment of sacrifice, in which his personification of love and commitment to truth were made evident; his meaning for us is that we must live such a life ourselves."
The Islamic and Judaic views of Jesus are also discussed by adherents of those faiths; the overwhelming impression that one comes to after reading this excellent little book is that religions have far more in common than in conflict when it comes to the question of Jesus.