Christ Our Life
Here’s how Michael Reeves begins his wonderful new book about Jesus:
“Jesus Christ, God’s perfect Son, is the Beloved of the Father, the Song of the angels, the Logic of creation, the great Mystery of godliness, the bottomless Spring of life, comfort and joy.” (ix)This sets the tone for what follows: a rich celebration of the nature, character and achievements of Christ across eternity. As I said when recommending his previous work, The Good God, we need far more books about God and what He has done/is doing than we need books about us and what we should be doing. Reeves exemplifies this, appropriating Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s advice that, “For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.”
That is not his only distinction as a popular-level Christian writer. He is also good at writing and concise. Those two qualities don’t have to go together but it’s a blessing to apprehensive readers when they do. Reeves is simultaneously systematic, biblical, historical, as well as engaging and even funny. If you struggle to enjoy Christian books, or have found theology dry and irrelevant, read Christ Our Life and discover what you’ve been missing.
If you feel under-resourced when worshiping or praying, this could be greatly beneficial. My heart was stirred to praise God again and again as I read; he also gave me some fresh insights on well-known Bible passages, introduced me to a starry cast of theologians, and helped me see how wonderful truths I already knew could fit together in ways I hadn’t appreciated before.
Here he is talking about the relationship of Christ and His church using the biblical metaphor of marriage:
“The Bride and the Bridegroom have become one, and we are now together, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death, when we meet.” (71)On the resurrection:
“The reign of death and corruption was undone, and a human being now stood, body and soul, wholly beyond the reach of the curse.” (57)On the exclusivity of Jesus:
“He himself said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6). That could sound unnecessarily tribal or snobbish but for this: there is no-one else who offers what he offers. Some religions offer paradise or nirvana; he shares with us himself, his very sonship, his life before the Father. If the gospel was about God sharing some thing other than himself, then Jesus’ words would sound cliquey. Why couldn’t others be purveyors of that thing? But since the blessing he bring is himself and his own life, it is plain nonsense to think of him as just one religious stall, much the same as others. Others can offer ‘God’ or ‘salvation’ but only when someone offers Jesus do they offer the same thing as the gospel.” (107)My only complaint is slightly facetious: the book’s production underplays its content. I don’t blame the publishers for making it thin and monotone (cover image excepted), i.e. affordable, but really the subject and style of this work should be matched by a luxurious artefact: a font that is lustrous, bold and flamboyant, with illustrations of eye-popping colour, printed on parchment, between covers that will last a lifetime.