I’ll be honest. There are four reasons why I wasn’t expecting much out of this book: (1) The title and subtitle. The blank in the title kind of scared me. Does this mean he is going to promote Jesus as whatever you want/need Him to be? And the subtitle? “Find a New Way to Be Human”? I don’t think people need a find a new way to be human; I think people need to be saved! (2) I looked at Judah’s picture on the back and googled his name and saw a couple of other pictures of him and my first impression is that he was one of those “cool” hipster pastors who spent more time contemplating his wardrobe than meditating on God’s truths. (3) Foreword by Bubba Watson, 2012 Masters Champion. I prefer “Foreword by J. I. Packer” if that tells you anything. I tend to roll my eyes at a pro athlete endorsing a book on Christology. (4) Based on the above, and probably throw in a little bit of my impression of the colorful design of the book, and I was fully expecting something shallow and surface-level.
I was wrong. I was completely caught off guard by the power of this book. Sure, there were times when I wished Smith would have provided a little more theological precision and clarity, especially regarding the depravity of man. But that didn’t keep me from drinking in the fresh and clear ways in which Smith communicated the love and grace of God. 1st John 4:16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” In this book, Judah Smith has certainly helped train my eye on God’s love for me.
If you are someone who wasn’t ever loved well, or if you were raised in an environment which was legalistic and rigid, filled with rules, or if you simply struggle to believe that God could truly love someone who has sinned so much, I urge you to get this book and soak in it’s refreshing message. Here are some examples of Gospel-centered statements that can help liberate you to enjoy God’s love:
“Even in our darkest moments of sin and self-centeredness, God still loves us.” – p. 46
“Our righteousness doesn’t depend on our present performance but on Jesus’s finished performance.” – p. 68
“God isn’t just willing to forgive sinners – he is passionate about it.” – p. 73
“God is just as pleased with us as he is with his Son.” – p. 76
“If we have faith in Jesus and his work on the cross, then we are as righteous right now as we ever need to be. We can’t add to it, and we can’t take away from it.” – p. 101
These are just a few of the many gems found in “Jesus is ___________.”
BTW, I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
3 thoughts on “Book Review: “Jesus is _________________.” by Judah Smith”
At your reccomendation, I read this book. It was very refreshing to get a new glimpse of how God views us. It was a cool glass of water for someone that can revert to fundamentalism when my gaze shifts from Him,it was very heart opening.
Jonathan, thanks for letting me know! I certainly identify with your experience of reverting “to fundamentalism when my gaze shifts from Him.”