This is a review of Jesus is________. by Judah Smith. The book is a result in part from a marketing campaign by City Church to simply get people thinking about Jesus. It was (and continues to be) a brilliant campaign about Jesus, hopefully in a profound life changing way.
Judah is a father of three children and along with his wife is the pastor of City Church in Seattle, which by the way, his father and mother founded years before. In the introduction of the book, Judah wrote words of deep respect and honor about his father. Apparently, Judah became the pastor of City Church after his father passed away. From the get-go of the introduction and knowing the impact of the father upon his son, I was ready to read and learn what Judah had to say about Jesus.
After reading the book, I wanted to see and hear this young pastor before critiquing his book. I watched a YouTube clip of Judah preaching a sermon at another church in North Carolina. And then I went to the blog promoting the book. I watched several “60 second” video spot promotions. Judah Smith is a passionate teacher and communicator. He has numerous supporters and business people on his team as noted by the successful marketing of a product…his book. I’m not discounting this at all. It shows another side of Judah Smith, the business man, and it shows the backing he has from his sponsor.
Here is my review:
Judah’s winsome personality, combined with his story-telling skills will attract a certain age group and audience that will appreciate his sappy humor and trendy vernacular. He does jump around a bit and I agree with his personal assessment which he noted in the introduction: “The walls of my brain are covered with sticky notes. And the sticky notes are filled with scribbles. And the scribbles are highlighted in multiple neon colors.” If you’re wanting a deep theological book about Jesus, this is not the book for you.
However, the truth about Jesus does not require deep theological teaching. The simple, yet profound truth is, “A moment with Jesus changes everything.” I enjoyed reading and imagining Judah retelling the story of Zacchaeus, the parable of the Prodigal Son, and House of Hypocrites. (confessions of the preacher) to name just a few.
Here’s the real deal. The seeker that reads this book doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Judah paints a great story of truth on a blank canvas. The colors of this story are so vibrant and magnificent that it captures the eye to read more. The reader is humored and challenged at the same time. Judah is more than real with sharing a piece of his life, admitting his mistakes, and revealing personal conflicts.
And then it happens…the hammer! This is when Judah nails it. The jolt of a statement like a hammer hitting a nail into a hard block of wood. Judah hammers the truth of the gospel.
The Bible says that salvation is a gift. It’s free. We don’t need to clean up our acts before we approach God. We don’t need to make a sacrifice or pay for our sins. We receive forgiveness by faith, which simply means we choose to believe that Jesus dies in our place. I know it sounds too good to be true. That’s why it’s called grace. And that’s who Jesus is.
The book is full of cheesy humor and good story telling with a strong punch line. If you are offended by trendy words and a creative paraphrase of a few choice Bible stories, then this book may not be for you. However, if you have a friend that wants to know who Jesus is, then buy a book for you and your friend and read it together. Tell your friend who Jesus is to you! Help your friend discover how to fill in the blank: Jesus is ______.
I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson through BookSneeze for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”