Thursday, June 30, 2005

Book Review: Jesus by Leith Anderson

With excellent writing and careful historical documentation, Jesus: An Intimate Portrait of the Man His Land and His People by Leith Anderson will be a valuable addition to any Christian’s library. A biography of Jesus that integrates the four Gospels in chronological order, Jesus gave me a fascinating look at the life of Jesus that added to my knowledge and understanding of the Bible.

Difficult to put down, Jesus is told in such a way that the reader is captivated, wondering what will happen next. Of course, I was already very familiar with the stories of the Bible. Jesus gives an added dimension of history and geography (including maps) that vividly reminded me that Jesus was in fact fully human while he was fully God. While reading, I could feel Jesus’ sorrow upon the death of Lazarus, concern at the Wedding at Cana and his anguish towards the end of his life. The apostle’s confusion, the amazement of those who were healed and the anger of the Pharisees was nearly palpable.

Informative sidebars give historical references, cultural backgrounds and definitions that add to the understanding of the related text without being disruptive. “Legion” and “talent” are defined, towns are described and people are profiled. In fact, those sidebars are one of my favorite features of the book. Larger boxes containing information on major topics were also very helpful and were found throughout the book. The Herods, the Samaritans and leprosy were a few of the topics discussed in this manner.

Some major points that were bought home to me as a result of my reading of this book about the life of Jesus:
1. Jesus spent much time traveling and this travel was often uncomfortable and difficult
2. Jesus spent much time healing and bringing the joy that comes with healing to others
3. Jesus spent much time teaching, often repeating the same lessons for different crowds
4. Jesus felt that prayer was essential, despite his very full schedule and frequently sought periods of solitude.

Overall, Jesus made me feel closer to Christ and desire even more to become more like Jesus each and every day.

Thanks to Mind and Media at for graciously providing this book for review in cooperation with the publisher, Bethany House.

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