I received this book in August last year and kept putting off reading it. For a few reasons – it seemed it would require paying attention and taking notes and rethinking some of my preferred attitudes about discussing the truths of the Bible. It eventually became very easy to put it aside and even put it away on the shelves. But I never really forgot it and knew I did want to read it. If this is biblical, I desire to know that and see it. I finally picked it up this month. It was the right fit, I have eagerly read through it over the past week.
This book looks at the ministry of Jesus, especially his interactions with the Pharisees and Scribes, mainly pointing out His insistence on teaching the truth even when it was in contradiction to what the religious leaders were teaching. In fact, especially when it was in contradiction to what they were teaching.
It is hard to hold onto the idea of the meek and mild Jesus if you read the gospels very much at all. This book took that even deeper. I will not read the Sermon on the Mount the same way again. MacArthur presents the encounters of Jesus with the multitudes and specifically with the members of the Sanhedrin and shows how Jesus never watered down his message or tried to make it more palatable. He told them what they needed to hear and often in a confrontational manner because it was the way they needed to hear it.
Throughout the book, and especially in the Epilogue, MacArthur addresses concerns that we aren’t perfect like Jesus and that he is not telling us we should be belligerent about everything. He is stressing that the truth of the gospel cannot be corrupted or twisted just to make people comfortable. He references the writings of Paul and the Revelations of John as further evidence that false teaching is not to be tolerated.
The structure of the book, each chapter focusing on one or two encounters and how it was initiated by Jesus, keeps drawing the reader in, building up to the inevitable ending. The writing was easy to read but never condescending. Terms and traditions that need to be understood are explained well. Attitudes and responses are reflected in the words he uses. The Bible is the source for everything he presents. I recommend this book for personal study and even for group study to discuss how we are to stand firm in our faith and address the internal threats of false teaching.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”