Learning the Heart of the GospelBook - 1999
For Johnson, the real Jesus is not simply a historical figure--a dead man whose authentic words and deeds can be approached through historical research and textual analysis. Rather, the real Jesus is the resurrected Lord of Christian faith--a living savior who can be encountered in the world today. Being a Christian means learning this living Jesus by "putting on the mind of Christ" and being transformed in his image.
Johnson begins by elucidating the mystery of Jesus' resurrection, which is the key to understanding why Jesus still lives. He demonstrates how Jesus is present in the community of the Christian Church--and how the Church is instrumental in helping us learn Jesus. For Johnson, the Christian traditions that the Church embodies--canon, creed, worship, prayer, veneration of saints, charity toward the powerless--are not dilutions of Jesus' message, but essential components of an authentic Christian spirituality.
But Jesus also lives in Scripture, and to learn Jesus we must also learn the New Testament. Johnson leads us book by book through the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation, revealing how each text highlights particular facets of Jesus as the living one. He explains why all of the Gospels provide true witness to Christ's ministry--none takes precedence over the others--and how each can help us better understand Jesus. Fortified with this understanding, we can model our lives and faith on Jesus' own and work toward becoming authentic Christians. Cutting through the confusing claims made about the Jesus of history who died long ago, this remarkable book shows how to experience the Jesus of faith who still lives today. By guiding us through the complex, lifelong endeavor of learning Jesus, Johnson offers us a true gift, a book that will illuminate, inspire--and ultimately bring our lives closer to Jesus.