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4.7 out of 5 stars77
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on 14 June 2003
I couldn't put this book down and found it every bit as riveting as 'What's so Amazing about Grace' - which in turn was the best Christian genre book I have ever read.
Philip Yancey doesn't try to tow the 'Christian party line' about Jesus, instead he goes back to the most informative source we have on Jesus, i.e. the gospels, and looks at them objectively. The outcome is a refreshing portrayal of the most remarkable character in history.
If you think of Jesus as being a gentle, rather harmless character with long flowing blonde locks who was a really good bloke but nothing more - this book will make you think again!
Jesus once asked 'Who do you say that I am?' of his disciples. Whoever you think He is/was, regardless of whether you are a Christian or not, I think you will come away from reading this book with a much expanded viewpoint. Highly recommended.
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on 6 July 2007
I haven't read that many books by christian authors but i definitely found this one one of the most interesting, unable-to-put-down ones!

I'd never really thought much before of the controversy Jesus, as a real living person in the first century, must have caused by his actions and his claims.

This book gives insight to the social and religious background that Jesus grew up in and makes the story of his ministry all the more compelling as we realise exactly what it meant to say what he said, do what he did, what it meant to follow him. It really helped me to put myself in the perspective of being in the first century and realising what a dynamic person he must have been.

Also, it made him all the more seem like a more real person and not someone whom i've heard a few "fairytale stories" about. He was real. He did live and he was very controversial for his time - and still is now!!

A really good book if you want to know more about the man Jesus really was and understand the times in which he grew up.
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VINE VOICEon 22 November 2003
I found this book honest, compelling and extraordinarily helpful. Philip Yancey takes your childhood preconceptions of a perpetually calm, rarely smiling, stained glass window Christ (who always seems to look remarkably like Robert Powell!) and replaces them with a vivid and deeply real person full of energy, strong emotions, awesome in His restraint & every bit human. It is shocking, refreshing and convincing and has completely changed the way I see Jesus. Read it and be amazed too!
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on 2 February 2000
It is not often that a book brings such a fresh perspective on things we already know. Yancey voices many of the "unmentionables" in Christian circles, particularly the "why" questions. I fully identified with the man Jesus described here, as opposed to the image that had been developed for me by many of my previous influences. You cannot help but be absorbed by the challenge that Yancey so clearly articulates.
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on 26 February 2000
I could not put this book down! Yancey's search for the real - historical and divine - Jesus is a wonderful read. A must for any person willing to be challenged to get closer to Christ and understand who He is and was. Yancey writes clearly and approachably.
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on 17 July 2001
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Over the last 6 months, it has been the basis of everything God has taught me - about grace, about works, and about loving others. Yancey's portrait of Jesus shines fresh light on his mission here on earth, something we so often bypass in the search to become perfect Christians: Jesus came to love the unloveable. This book issues a challenge to the church and to Christians today to see the people around them through Jesus' grace-filled eyes. More than that, it presents a far greater personal challenge - to put Jesus back at the centre of our lives and our hearts; once we have done that, the rest will fall into place. I borrowed this book from a friend a year ago, and still have not given it back; I just don't want to remove it from easy reaching distance! Buy it, buy it, buy it!
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VINE VOICEon 27 November 2003
This book was great food for thought, and I wished that I could buy copies for all of my friends.
Philip Yancy takes an indept look at Jesus's life here on earth and analyse the person Jesus in his ministry,and work for the kingdom. He asks us several times to pause and think.....suggesting that we could possible agree or disagree with certain characteristics written into the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
He also speaks to some degree of the Jewish faith, and how it was applied at that time. It was a good read and I encourage all Christian readers to check it out some time.
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on 6 September 2004
If you are like me, a modern intellectual person who believes in Jesus and the Gospel but has found your faith restrained by the "but why?" questions, this book is for you! It has absolutely changed my life by significantly changing my views and understanding of God, Jesus and the "but why?" of it all. Philip Yancey uncovers to my mind some of the most intimate characteristics and truths about God and presents the true personality of Jesus in such a way that you can not but fall in love with Him. This book took away all the doubtfull restraints of my faith in Jesus! Get it and read it!
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on 22 September 2009
This book is very well written; indeed a spiritual page-turner!
Philip Yancey sets out for his own personal quest for for finding the true Jesus of Nazareth. He asks whether not the Church in their attempt to export Jesus, have done their Lord some injustices: have He become too smiling and well-dressed? Have He become too cosy ? If He is The Incarnation of God, the actual Son of God, should not modern people also feel awe towards Him? Have the Church in their attempt to preach Jesus, and understand Him, and dogmatically define Him, also wing-clipped Him and ended up with a Jesus-portrait that is an image of the Son of God in their own likeness?
So Philip Yancey goes to the best sources we have: The Gospel-narratives in the New Testament.
Here he finds a Jesus that are deeper, stranger, more awesome, but also more believable than the Jesus too many sceptically-natured theologians preach today (Note: something these latter mentioned theologians probably are in order to earn credit in a secularized Academic world).
Yancey finds a Jesus that was a Jew, but more than a Jew. Yancey finds a Jesus that belongs to the first century, but was in opposition to much of what the first century represented. Yancey finds a Jesus that are not easily put on a formula, and as author Yancey seems to take seriously that it may not have been easy for the first century-man to a-knowledge Him the Messiah, or even The Son of God.
The book is brilliantly written, serious, and goes straight to the heart of the matter: Who was Jesus? Let our earliest narratives of Him tell their story! Let the evangelists - so disputed, and often disbelieved by modern theologians - say what they say, and let us consider if not Jesus Christ suddenly becomes believable both as historical person and The Son of God when we give the texts a chance as they are handed over to us!
Very good book! It really boosted my faith in the historical truth of the Bible and my interest in Jesus-research! Go and buy, go and read!
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I picked this up after having read - and been strongly affected by - Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace? last year. Here, he tries to look afresh at the life of Jesus as presented in the Gospels, rather than that suggested or implied by the lives of his followers or by the behaviour of the institutions which have been set up in his name. This is a big topic, and he's obviously not the first writer to tackle it - indeed, one of the characteristics of Jesus is the apparently limitless fascination which so many (believers and non-believers alike) have with his message. This is to say nothing of the passionate - even violent - divisions which have arisen in the lives of some communities, who have then attempted to justify them by appealing to (their ideas about) his teaching - an argument that I've seen neatly summed up as "My Jesus is better than your Jesus".

So - notwithstanding the publisher's promise that the book reveals "what 2000 years of history have covered up" (which uncomfortably reminds me of something Dan Brown might have written) - it's perhaps difficult to find something new to say about this subject, but that's not to say it's a waste of time to examine it again. To take just one example, Yancey looks at the demands of the Sermon On The Mount with his jaw sagging [p133]: "Does Jesus really expect me to give to every panhandler who crosses my path? Should I abandon all insistence on consumer rights? Cancel my insurance policies and trust God for the future? Discard my television to avoid temptations to lust? How can I possibly translate such ethical ideals into my everyday life?" He finds partial answers to these excellent questions in the writings of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but more completely in God's gift of grace, which rescues us from our desperation when we realize no-one can rely on their own efforts alone to live up to the ideal which Jesus sets out.
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