God’s Favorite Place on Earth

cover27746-largeOften times when we approach the story of scripture, we don’t realize the depth of the story that we are entering. When Jesus was here on earth, there was so much more going on that what is recorded in scripture. John even says so at the end of his gospel. It’s that depth that Frank Viola is exploring in God’s Favorite Place on Earth. The story element of his book is written in first person narrative from the perspective of Lazarus. Through the voice of Lazarus, Viola writes how Bethany was Jesus’ favorite place to stay when he lived on earth. He was welcomed by the people, developed deep friendships, performed a great miracle, and even ascended to heaven in the town of Bethany. After writing the story half, the other half of each chapter is a reflection on the text and application to our lives today. Continue reading

Who is Jesus Christ?

_240_360_Book.705.coverJesus Christ is a somewhat controversial figure. Everyone has or is looking for an answer to the question, “Who is (or was) Jesus Christ?” There is very little denying that Jesus was a real person who really walked the earth in the first century AD, but one you get past that there are many divergent answers. The most popular scholarly thing to do in 21st century American culture is to join the quest for the “Historical Jesus.” This view examines Jesus through a historical lens and sometimes discounts scripture as a valid source for understanding Jesus. Apart from discounting scripture, I think that it is valid and helpful to see Jesus through the lens of first century Jewish (and Roman) culture. Where this can fall short, however, is looking at the bigger picture of who Jesus is beyond his life on earth. This is why Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have written Jesus: A Theography. It is their belief, that while these historical pictures of Jesus are helpful, they are lacking the life of Christ before and after incarnation. The ultimate goal of their book Jesus is to give a picture of Christ in light of the entirety of scripture and not just within the Gospels. Continue reading