The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christby Patrick Reardon
Who was Jesus and what was His mission?
The Gospels present us with an obvious but profound and compelling thought, that the eternal Word of God became a real man of particular weight and height, with a specific temperament and particular traits of character. He was a Jew, part of a small village community. He became hungry and tired. He felt anger and was/p>
Who was Jesus and what was His mission?
The Gospels present us with an obvious but profound and compelling thought, that the eternal Word of God became a real man of particular weight and height, with a specific temperament and particular traits of character. He was a Jew, part of a small village community. He became hungry and tired. He felt anger and was moved to compassion. He had a mother and friends. His name was Jesus.
How are we to understand this mystery of Jesus being fully God and also fully man? How do we correctly speak of the real Jesus without falling prey to the skepticism that marks the so-called “quest for a historical Jesus”?
In The Jesus We Missed, pastor and scholar Patrick Henry Reardon travels through the Gospel narratives to discover the real Jesus, to see him through the eyes of those who knew him best—the apostles, his community, believers who vividly portrayed him in stories filtered through their own faith. Through these living, breathing accounts, we contemplate who God’s Son really was and is—and we understand how he came to redeem and sanctify every aspect of every human life.
“In an age that has too often turned Jesus into a symbol or an abstract doctrine, we are long overdue for a reminder that the Lord of history came to us as a humble carpenter from Nazareth.” — BRYAN LITFIN, Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute
“In his inimitable style, Patrick Henry Reardon surprises us with insights into the humanity of Jesus drawn from the Gospels and made lively by careful attention to historical and literary detail. Here is a piece that joins together critical awareness, theological fidelity, refreshing wit, and manifest devotion.” — EDITH M. HUMPHREY, William F. Orr Professor of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
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The JESUS We MissedTHE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
By PATRICK HENRY REARDON
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2012 Patrick Henry Reardon
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGROWING UP
The earliest Christian believers knew nothing of Jesus' childhood because the earliest preaching—that of the apostles—had nothing to say about him prior to his baptism at about age thirty (Luke 3:21–23). This is the pattern reflected in the sermons in the Acts of the Apostles.
Mark, writing the earliest of the four gospels, began his account of the Savior, not with Jesus' early years, but with the ministry of John the Baptist (Mark 1:2–4). even the evangelist John, whose first words take his readers right up to the eternity of the word's relation to the Father (1:1–5), commenced his actual story by introducing the ministry of John the Baptist. even before declaring that "the word was made flesh and dwelt among us," this evangelist proclaimed, "There was a man sent forth from god whose name was John." As far as history can discern, in short, the earliest apostolic witness contained not a single detail about Jesus' life prior to the Baptist's appearance at the Jordan.
In this respect, Matthew and Luke represent a dramatic difference because these two evangelists have quite a bit to say about Jesus prior to the preaching of John the Baptist. This earlier material tells of Jesus' miraculous conception, Zachariah and Elizabeth, Herod and the Magi, Jesus' circumcision, Mary's postpartum purification in the temple, the family's flight into Egypt, and their visit to Jerusalem when the Savior was twelve years old.
It is worth remarking that Matthew and Luke do not simply attach these earlier stories to the front of their gospels. on the contrary, each writer elaborates the material in ways consistent with the literary structure and theological interests of his gospel as a whole. Those interests explain why the perspectives in Matthew and Luke—notwithstanding what they have in common—are notably different.
Thus, Matthew's account of the pagan Magi, who arrive in the Holy Land in order to adore the newborn Jesus, serves to introduce a theological theme important to this author—world evangelism—on which, in fact, his gospel will end: "go forth and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19, emphasis added).
Luke, on the other hand, uses the early stories of Jesus' life to set the stage for his pronounced "Jerusalem motif." These accounts enable Luke to portray three scenes that take place in the temple, even before Jesus' ministry begins (Luke 1:9; 2:27, 46). Moreover, Luke's account of Mary's song—the Magnificat—introduces some of the ideas programmatic of his gospel as a whole:
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. (Luke 1:52–53)
In these lines from Luke's first chapter, we discern various motifs he will later take up in the Beatitudes and woes (Luke 6:20–26); the accounts of Zacchaeus (19:1–10) and the poor widow (21:1–4); and the parables of the good Samaritan (10:2–37), the rich fool (12:13–21), the wedding feast (14:7–14), the two sons (15:11–32), the crafty steward (16:1–13), the rich man and Lazarus (16:19–31), and the Pharisee and publican (18:9–14).
There is an obvious problem attending these stories of Jesus' birth and other early events. The problem, which is historical, is easily stated: Just where did Matthew and Luke discover the historical material that fills the first two chapters of each of these gospels? Since this material had not been part of the early preaching of the apostles, how did the two evangelists know about it?
The only reasonable answer, it seems to me, is that the "source" was Jesus' own mother, of whom we are told, "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19, 51). Later in the first century, when Matthew and Luke wrote, she alone was still alive to remember those details, which could have been known to no one else.
She was the living witness of the stories about herself and Joseph, the conception and birth of John the Baptist, the circumstances of Jesus' conception, the trip to Bethlehem, the manger in the stable, the swaddling clothes, the angels and the shepherds, the Magi and their gifts, Herod's reaction, Jesus' circumcision, the presentation in the temple, Simeon and Anna, and the dramatic event that occurred when Jesus was twelve. It was from Mary that Matthew and Luke knew these narratives.
What does this early material tell us about Jesus as he grew up? Taking Matthew and Luke as guides, I feel confident in the suggestion that the Savior's childhood and early experiences were chiefly shaped by two principal factors: his parents and his synagogue.
We are ready to look at these.
Jesus' family bore Joseph's name. Although Matthew and Luke testified that Joseph was not Jesus' biological father, it was through him that both evangelists traced Jesus' family lineage (Matthew 1:1–16; Luke 3:23–38). Jesus inherited the messianic title "Son of David," not from Mary but from the man who served him—literally—in loco patris.
Jesus "was supposed" (enomizeto—Luke 3:23) to be "the son of Joseph," Jeshua Bar Joseph (John 1:45; 6:42). When he first addressed the citizens of Nazareth, those in the synagogue inquired, "Is this not Joseph's son?" (Luke 4:22).
Matthew provides an instructive variation on this question: "Is this not the craftsman's son?" (Matthew 13:55). The underlying Greek noun here, usually translated as "carpenter," is tekton, a term including any sort of builder, craftsman, or skilled worker—even a blacksmith. A tekton was someone who constructed and fashioned things with his hands.
In short, Joseph taught Jesus those cultivated manual talents summarized by george eliot as the inheritance bequeathed from a craftsman father: "the mechanical instinct, the keen sensibility to harmony, the unconscious skill of the modeling hand."
Joseph passed these technical skills on to Jesus, who was also known as a tekton. A tekton was a man with talented hands, and Jesus' hands could heal the sick and injured! Mark surely recognized the irony of calling Jesus a tekton in the context of his miracles and teaching: "And what wisdom is this which is given to him, that such mighty works are performed by his hands. Is this not the tekton?" (Mark 6:2–3, emphasis added).
What more did Jesus learn from Joseph? Let me suggest that he also found in Joseph an ideal son of Abraham—that is to say, a man who lived, as Abraham did, by faith.
Consider the calling of Joseph. every vocation is unique—in the sense that the good Shepherd calls each of his sheep by its own proper name—but there was something supremely unique in the vocation of Joseph, who was called to be the foster father of god's Son and the protector of that divine Son's virgin mother. Joseph's vocation was not only difficult; it was impossible! In a sense, Joseph had to figure it out as he went along, simply following god's call, as best he could, wherever it led. He was obliged to leave the heavy lifting to god.
With so distinctive and demanding a vocation, Joseph might be excused, if, on occasion—the flight into Egypt, for instance—he felt anxious and insecure. The evidence, however, indicates that this was not the case. Joseph was not a person given to anxiety. He appeared, rather, as a man of extraordinary serenity. We find Joseph in five scenes in the gospel of Matthew, and every single time he is sound asleep (Matthew 1:20–24; 2:12, 13, 19, 22). Whatever troubles Joseph endured, they did not include insomnia.
Perhaps we see Joseph's mark on Jesus—particularly the example of his serenity and simple trust in God—when we contemplate a later New Testament scene:
Now when they had left the multitude, they took Jesus along in the boat as he was. And other little boats were also with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. (Mark 4:36–38)
Most of what we know of Jesus' mother comes from the gospel of Luke, where we learn of God's message to her, conveyed by the angel Gabriel, inviting her to become the virgin mother of his Son. In Luke we learn, too, of her acceptance of God's plan for her life, the miraculous conception of that Son through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary's visit to Elizabeth, her meeting with the old couple in the temple, and the later incident when Jesus was lost in Jerusalem for three days.
In all these stories, the most significant fact about Mary was her consent to God's invitation. Absolutely everything else recorded in the four gospels depended on that consent.
Mary's "Be it done unto me according to your word" (Luke 1:38) was also the first step along the road to Jesus' "Not my will, but Yours, be done" (22:42).
I believe the correspondence between these two verses indicates, likewise, the important spiritual mark of Mary on her son. It was from her that he learned to respond in faith to the call of God, not counting the cost. Their destinies were inextricably entwined in the mystery of redemption.
Even as Simeon prophesied that Jesus was "destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign of contradiction," the old man took care to warn Mary, "Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also" (Luke 2:34–35). This prophecy was mainly fulfilled on Mount Calvary, where "there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother" (John 19:25), loyally adhering to him unto the end. For this reason we find Mary—in the New Testament's last mention of her—gathered with the other Christians in the Upper Room, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14).
The message Mary received through Gabriel foretold mysterious things about the coming child:
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:32–33)
It is beyond doubt that Mary understood she was becoming the mother of the Messiah, because such was the message these words conveyed. Yet, what did it all mean in practice? where would it all lead?
Mary surely derived a further sense of her son's destiny when, at her greeting, the unborn infant in Elizabeth's womb suddenly "leaped for joy" (1:44). Then, at Jesus' birth, more angels appeared, this time to tell the shepherds,
Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Lord Messiah. (Luke 2:10–11)
What did all this portend, and what further was the Messiah's mother to do? There is nothing in the Sacred Text to suggest the Messiah's mother understood these things very clearly. (Do we?) All we know for certain is that "Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).
For the rest, she walked in faith and thereby taught her son to walk in faith. gradually, day by day, "the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him" (Luke 2:40), but not much happened that was extraordinary.
Indeed, Jesus seemed so ordinary a child that Mary and Joseph were quite stunned when, at age twelve, he suddenly asked them, "Did you not know that I must be about the things of my Father?" (2:49). even then, however, Jesus "went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them" (2:51). That is to say, things promptly returned to normal.
Year followed year, and Jesus remained at home with Joseph, eventually taking over the workshop when Joseph passed away. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, as far as we know. If Jesus really was the Messiah, there was no outward sign of it. We may imagine Mary was content, living in company with her son, who was dutiful and conscientious. It is difficult to imagine she was unaware of his piety and love of study, but Holy Scripture does not comment on it.
Then one day, Jesus announced that he was going to see his cousin John, who was preaching and baptizing in the Jordan Valley. He left his mother at home in Nazareth, and when he returned some time later, everything had changed.
Everyone who knew him was aware that Jesus had no formal training as a rabbi. He was a workman. Unlike Saul of Tarsus, Jesus had not been privileged to study "at the feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3) or some other leading rabbinic scholar of the time. Indeed, when the Savior—at about age thirty (Luke 3:23)—commenced teaching in the Galilean synagogues (4:15), his neighbors expressed no little consternation about it: "How does this man know letters, never having studied?" (John 7:15).
It would be wrong, on the other hand, to ascribe an absolute sense to their low assessment of Jesus' education or fail to consider its context. That is to say, the wonderment of Jesus' contemporaries was prompted by his ability to hold his own in debate with—and even prevail over—the recognized rabbinical experts of his day. His townsfolk did not mean Jesus was unfamiliar with Sacred Letters.
There is no doubt that Jesus was literate, for we find him reading, and there is every reason to believe he learned the Scriptures as did any other young man from a working-class Galilean family: at the local synagogue. Normally, in fact, in a small town such as Nazareth, copies of the Scriptures, or any other books, were available only at the synagogue.
Now, Luke testifies that Jesus attended normal assemblies at the synagogue each Sabbath, "according to his custom" (Luke 4:16). As it happens, we know a thing or two about this "custom" (eiothos) of weekly synagogue attendance, and what we know precludes any fancy that it was a thing taken lightly—a perfunctory minimum observance.
On the contrary, regular attendance at the local synagogue required a very substantial commitment of effort and time: first, it occupied most of the Sabbath. Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian contemporary with the New Testament, spelled out the details for his Roman audience:
We spend every seventh day in the study of the customs (ethon) and Law, regarding concern for these things to be important—like everything else—so that we may avoid sin.
In short, everyone familiar with the Judaism of the day was aware that "Moses had throughout many generations those who preached him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath" (Acts 15:21). Besides the Sabbath, the two weekly fast days—Monday and Thursday (Didache 8.1; Luke 18:12)—were also occasions for public Scripture readings in the synagogue.
In the synagogues of Palestine, these public readings, following a common lectionary based on the calendar of Jewish festal seasons, were measured out so that the entire Pentateuch was completed every three and a half years. To these were added selections from the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures. eventually some of this material was determined by particular feast days: Esther at Purim, the Song of Solomon at Passover, Ecclesiastes at Sukkoth, Ruth at Pentecost, and so on. We are uncertain, however, if—or how much—these patterns were fixed in Jesus' time.
After the public reading in Hebrew, the Scriptures were repeated in translations in the common spoken language—Aramaic in Palestine, mainly Greek elsewhere—so that God's Word would be understood by the people. Since our first example for this practice of a public reading in translation comes from the early postexilic period (Nehemiah 8:1–8), it appears that the pattern commenced during the mid-sixth century BC—the Babylonian Captivity—when the local synagogue became the defining and essential social institution in Jewish life.
Nor was biblical study in the synagogue restricted to public readings on three days during the week. The Mishnah testifies that the Scriptures were constantly maintained in the synagogue—under supervision—so that at any time a literate person with sufficient leisure might come and study them. According to Jerusalem's Ophel Inscription (contemporary with the New Testament), the synagogue was to provide adequate facilities to "read the Torah and teach the commandments."
For this reason, the synagogue was called the beth hasepher, the "house of the book." It was chiefly a place of study, where primary attention was given to the Torah and the other Sacred writings. That is to say, the culture of the synagogue was literary; it was text based, a pursuit of the ketubim, the sacred grammata identified as God's word.
Indeed, often enough it was at the synagogue—in special rooms or a courtyard or an attached building—that a young Jew learned the art of reading. It seems likely that Jesus learned to read in that setting.
When Luke tells of Jesus' return to Nazareth, he describes the town as the place where Jesus—according to the New King James Version—"had been brought up" (Luke 4:16). The Greek expression here is tethrammenos, literally "had been nourished," an expression referring to Jesus' nurture as a child. Inasmuch as "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature," however, this early nourishment should be understood as both physical and spiritual. That is to say, in returning to the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus was coming back to the place where his soul had been fed during all those years of his youth. Moreover, the institution of the synagogue remained important to him throughout his life.
In our own age, when most Bible reading is done at home and privately, it seems important to stress the social setting of Jesus' study of Holy Scripture. The synagogue context, a setting inherited from Israel's history, provided the atmosphere in which the youthful Jesus, reading the Sacred Scrolls, took possession of his own identity as a child of Abraham and a partaker of the Mosaic covenant.
Consequently, we need to consider more carefully what these Sacred writings meant to Jesus as he matured. They were an indispensable element of his experience in the flesh.
JESUS AND THE SCRIPTURES
Someone who embarks on writing a biography—especially of a statesman, a religious leader, a philosopher, or a literary figure—should be prepared to cite the "influences" brought to bear on the conscience and thinking of his subject. We commonly expect this in a biographical account.
Thus, for instance, if I were to write a life story of Russell Kirk, I should devote some consideration to his early and very serious study of the Stoic, Marcus Aurelius. The calm and clarity of Kirk's thought—by his own admission—owed a great deal to his careful examination of ancient Stoicism.
Excerpted from The JESUS We Missed by PATRICK HENRY REARDON Copyright © 2012 by Patrick Henry Reardon. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Patrick Henry Reardon pastor of All Saints’ Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and a senior editor of Touchstone Magazine . In the past forty years, Fr. Patrick has published more than 500 articles, editorials, and reviews in popular and scholarly journals, including Books and Culture and Touchstone . As a guest lecturer, he receives invitations year-round to give retreats, homilies, lectures, and Bible studies. In addition, Fr. Patrick has penned several books for Conciliar Press, including Christ in the Psalms and The Trial of JobFr. Patrick was educated at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky; St. Anselm's College in Rome; The Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome; and St. Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania.
Russell D. Moore is the President of the Southrn Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He also serves as the executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement and is a regular columnist for Baptist Press. He has served on the pastoral staffs of two churches and was an aide to a United States congressman. He and his wife, Maria, and three sons live in Louisville, Kentucky.
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If you are like me and desire to know as much as possible about Jesus then the book The Jesus We Missed by Patrick Henry Reardon is a must read. I was concerned prior to reading this book that this would be book full of opinions that lacked physical evidence of fact; however, Patrick backs up all his claims with scripture and the language that was used in the scripture. He paints a brilliant picture of Jesus. While Jesus is 100% deity and 100% human Patrick's focus is mainly on the humanity of Jesus. As one who has often considered this dichotomy of historical fact -- Patrick compassionately and brilliantly allows the reader to see Jesus as deity and human throughout the text of this book. The chapters included in this book are listed below: Growing Up Two Conversations Baptism The Human Condition The Public Ministry Learning and Teaching Jesus at Prayer Jesus and the Women The Growing Crisis The Garden The Bridegroom Is Taken Away Risen in the Flesh Epilogue: The Same Jesus Appendix: The New Adam I've easily have given this book a rating of five. I can recommend this book to laypeople and clergy as this book will easily become a book that will be cherished. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze
Fr.Reardon demonstrates his Holy Spirit insight into the life of our Lord and Savior. He is a blessed theologian and has given to the body of Christ a work that enabled me to my Lord more clearly. read it. Dr. D.L.Whitman
An adequate Christology, then, affirms that the Word's becoming flesh refers to more than the single instant of his becoming present in the Virgin's womb. He continued becoming . . . a particular human life. (28) Patrick Henry Reardon The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ One theme of the "post-modern" church is the push to make the Gospel "accessible" by humanizing its principles. Adam Hamilton certainly does a good job of that, without minimizing Jesus' divinity, in his book 24 Hours That Changed the World. Like a good storyteller, Hamilton helps the reader visualize the life of Jesus with scriptural explanations and good old common sense. While my Sunday School class undertook the Hamilton book during Lent, I took on a similar read, I thought, in my personal study: Patrick Henry Reardon's The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ. While comparable in topic, they are similar in the way that ice milk is like frozen custard: it's a matter of depth and craft. Hamilton obviously wrote his book to appeal to the average reader: it's engaging, amiable, dramatic at times, follows popular dramatic structure, but, in the end, somewhat frothy. Reardon's The Jesus We Missed uses a classic rhetorical structure to build its case. Reardon organizes his argument into twelve chapters determined by the chronology of Jesus' life from his youth to his resurrection. In each chapter, he addresses the consensus of the Gospel writers as well as trying to reconcile some of the chronological discrepancies between the authors of the Gospels. In addition to literary analysis of the Scripture, Reardon quotes extensively from sources which are ex-canon and from patriarchs of the early church to good effect. The overall result is a scholarly analysis for the scholarly-minded. While not as folksy as Hamilton, Reardon's writing style is elegant without being pretentious. He doesn't want to impress the reader; he wants the reader to understand. That's a rare quality in scholarly work of this level. Although the reader could finish The Jesus We Missed rather quickly, that would rob the student of the opportunity to consider, study, and pray over Reardon's lessons. This one deserves to be studied rather than read. In humanizing the Christ, there could be a danger of minimizing his divinity. Reardon's Scripture-filled study leaves you even more amazed, and awed, that the Word became flesh--became one of us--so that we might be redeemed. That is why it is a great book. Disclaimer: Yes, I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an objective review. I could say whatever I wanted about the book. I have.
The Jesus We Missed by Patrick Henry Reardon is a must read. I was concerned prior to reading this book that this would be book full of opinions that lacked physical evidence of fact; however, Patrick backs up all his claims with scripture and the language that was used in the scripture. He paints a brilliant picture of Jesus. While Jesus is 100% deity and 100% human Patrick’s focus is mainly on the humanity of Jesus. As one who has often considered this dichotomy of historical fact — Patrick compassionately and brilliantly allows the reader to see Jesus as deity and human throughout the text of this book. The chapters included in this book are listed below: Growing UpTwo ConversationsBaptismThe Human ConditionThe Public MinistryLearning and TeachingJesus at PrayerJesus and the WomenThe Growing CrisisThe GardenThe Bridegroom Is Taken AwayRisen in the FleshEpilogue: The Same JesusAppendix: The New Adam Although there were sections that went a bit off track into other aspects of his character, this was a book that definitely challenged me to see more clearly what the book of Hebrews means when it says that Jesus was not ashamed to call us his brothers.“Sure, Jesus was the Son of God, which means he was fully man, but he was also fully God, right?” That is certainly where most of us Christians like to draw the line. After all, when we consider the majority of attacks on our faith, talking about Jesus’ humanity is really not a priority. Why, then, in trying to defend our faith against those who deny the divinity of Christ do we bother looking into his humanity? That is perhaps a perfect question to bring you to read this impressive book by Patrick Henry Reardon. The spotlight is turned to the humanity of Christ, his formation, and his understanding of his personal mission to save sinners. Reardon talks about how it may be that Christ did not just know his goal was to die on the cross, but that he may have come to that understanding gradually. After all, Mary was told that he would “save his people from their sins,” but it was not a plan fully innumerated.Reardon also makes brilliant points about how Christ’s humanity means as much as his divinity in his role as our intercessor, our substitution, and our imputed righteousness. After all, the fact that Jesus lived a human life and never failed to live up to God’s standard means not only that he qualified to be our substitute, but that we stand to inherit his perfect record; his perfection is credited to our account!
“Now, just what do we as believers behold when we gaze at Jesus?” This is the question that Patrick Henry Reardon tries to answer with his book The Jesus We Missed. Reardon reflects upon the upbringing of Jesus and highlights how His parents and the synagogue impacted His life and ministry. He delves into the baptism of Jesus and the inauguration of His public ministry. He explores the teachings and actions of Jesus throughout the rest of the book. And all of this relates to Jesus’ humanity. Reardon specifically focuses his attention, research, and reflections on Jesus’ human condition. He gives fascinating insight into how His humanity influenced His ministry. And Reardon unveils how much Jesus completely understands our humanity because He experienced it so deeply. Reardon ends the book with an extremely interesting perspective on Jesus which I believe perfectly describes the tone and value of this book. He reflects on the folded handkerchief which was left behind in the empty tomb after Jesus rose from the dead. Reardon suggests that this simple gesture showed the humanity of Jesus – a Jesus who was naturally neat and tidy, just like His mom taught Him how to be. The resurrected Jesus was still entirely human. And we can all take heart in this folded handkerchief that Jesus was human, understands humanity, and still relates to us as humans. Overall, this is an extremely beneficial book which brings a unique message to the Christian sector and is worth reading for anybody who follows Jesus Christ.
This book will make you think and question your current beliefs about WHO Jesus Christ is. We usually assume Jesus is God and so Jesus wouldn't have all our gross or weak human traits, but Patrick Henry Reardon's book is all about pointing out those things that we aren't comfortable considering. Although we quickly admit Jesus was fully man also, we are not comfortable really thinking about Him like this. Example: Being fully human, Reardon and Russell D. Moore point out that Jesus would probably get sick, get an upset stomach, vomit, etc. Of course, to most of us, this sounds blasphemous, if not just disrespectful to consider. But, that's what this book is about. Seeing Jesus as fully human and attempting to fill in some of the blanks in Jesus' life story, growing up as a child, and how Jesus developed into a powerful man of God. When I saw Russell D. Moore wrote the forward to this book, I assumed this would be a good book. But I enjoyed this book. It was slow, boring and I had to re-read some parts just to get through it, as my eyes kept glazing over. I didn't really find much in this book that wasn't said before - many times over. In fact, the author starts off the book saying that he hopes nothing in this book is new. Well, he did a good job of accomplishing that. There was not much new in this book and that made it boring. One neat part was when the author drew the conclusion that Matthew and Luke must have gotten the Nativity and Jesus' early years stories from Christ's mother, Mary. He assumed this because Mark and John don't include these stories and Mary or Joseph would have been the only witnesses. This was a neat idea, but not worth reading the book for! I didn't care for how the author assumed "Joseph died". I couldn't find that story in my Bible but I certainly heard it among Catholic legend. I had hoped such an indepth analysis of Jesus' missing childhood would stick to the Bible only, not legend. And if the author was going to mention legend, he should tell us his source. Instead he just writes "Jesus remained at home with Joseph, eventually taking over the workshop when Joseph passed away." Next Reardon declares "If Jesus really was the Messiah, there was no outward sign of it." I cannot agree with this statement at all! If Jesus was sinless and a perfect human model of God, ever action or lack of action would be screaming signs to his entire family! Not only did his parents know the prophecies, meet the angels, be inpregnated by the Holy Spirit, but they knew their son was the destined Messiah. And Jesus was the only one of their sons and daughters who was sinless and perfect. How could a parent not notice this? In the end, this book is an interesting read because it challenges your current ideas about Christ, but I feel the author was not careful enough in his conclusions and statements. I also feel he didn't back up enough of his statement with good solid logic and bible verses or references. Slow and boring but not without some benefit in challenging us to think outside of the box. Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher but I am not required to give a positive review in exchange for the book. This is my critical review of the book as if I had bought the book with my hard earned money.
What do we mean when we say that Jesus was both fully divine and fully human? Most Christians have some clear ideas about Jesus being fully God, but His being a man is harder to conceive and explain. In fact, most Christians would rather not discuss the subject for fear of inadvertently attacking Christ's deity. It is in this usually avoided area of doctrine that Patrick Henry Reardon writes. This book, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, boldly tackles the subject. Reverent study of the humanity of Christ will in no way lessen our respect of the divinity of Christ, but rather better define it. Actually, our appreciation of what Jesus did for us will grow exponentially as we see that He suffered as we suffer, he felt pain and heartaches as we feel them, and He understands on every level all that we could ever go through. In this thought-provoking work, we are forced to confront Christ's humanity head on. Questions that you either never thought of, or thought it best to never think of, are asked in a way that you much decide or close the book. In the preface alone, the shocking question of did Jesus ever get sick and vomit is asked. Before you run away, ask yourself if that isn't a worthy question. Does Jesus understand when I am in the middle of a bout of extreme nauseousness? At this point doctrine and daily living intersect. I couldn't say that I agree with every conclusion of Mr. Reardon. When he speaks of Jesus and His mother Mary being at odds at the wedding where He turns water to wine, I feel he slightly stretches the extent of it. While I can appreciate the bewildering nature of Mary's experience as Jesus grew up, I can't help but believe that she did think of Him as we usually picture it in light of the angel's graphic description of the Child she would carry. The extraordinary fact of the Virgin Birth could never be lost on her for a moment, even though her being a human mother had to come out at times. Mr. Reardon also attributes more to the human author's personal knowledge (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) than I would feel comfortable doing as it would overlook the ultimate authorship of the Holy Spirit. But when Mr. Reardon talks about Jesus' growing up always going to the synagogue, or His interaction with certain individuals, or His sufferings in Gethsemane or on the cross, he is spot on. I have been blessed by studying Christology and it looks like we have a tool here to help those who have never studied it to get going. Pastors can gain further insights on the Hypostatic Union while laymen can follow the discussion with minimal heavy theological terms. That makes this book, even with the few aforementioned caveats, a winner all the way around. 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 .
Okay I am guilty. I've thought of Jesus as more divine than human, when he was clearly both. For instance the author asks ....Did Jesus ever have the stomach flu or wear diapers? What? Jesus did that? Well he was wrapped in clothes..Luke 2:12- for obvious reasons. We let ourselves off the hook of obedience by saying 'I am only human.' but then...so was Jesus. Does this book make us uncomfortable? It did me and it likely will you too. It makes Jesus too close for comfort. Still --since Jesus really experienced all we do that means he rally understands and we in our human selves, with the help of the Holy Spirit can walk as he walked---Obediently. For a less clinical look at the human Jeus, I suggest 'Come to Me by Laura J Davis