The subtitle of Jesus Manifesto sums up the purpose of the book well: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ. This book is about Jesus and how He is the center of Christianity. Although that premise may result in a hearty, “Duh!” from many of us, this book does a great job of explaining exactly why Jesus must be the center and portrays some counterfeit paths we may find ourselves on when Jesus is not in His rightful place.
I love that this book isn’t primarily Christian bashing or church bashing. Although there are portions that are scathing, the bulk of the book is all about putting Jesus in the highest place. Listen to this “ouch” quote,
. . . we have been handed a shrink-wrapped Jesus. Christ has become our once-a-week Mascot. We rally around Him on Sunday mornings, selfishly reaching for all we can get from Him – goodies and gifts, all for us. Then we push Him off into the sidelines the rest of the week.
The book is easy to read but still has a lot of meat to chew on. (I don’t like fluffy books that are too easy and say the same thing over and over. Jesus Manifesto is not like that.) I often found myself re-reading sections to try to grasp all the authors were saying. They have a real knack with phrasing old ideas in new ways that grabbed my imagination as well as my intellect.
My only criticism of the book is that the premise of making Christ the center of our faith is not spelled out in very practical ways. After reading the book, I can see some wrong ways I tend to relate to Christ. But how do I make the shift from wrong relating to correct relating? The reader is left with great ideals but not a lot of practical steps for action. Try this example,
Jesus isn’t a cause; He is a real and living person who can be known, loved, experienced, enthroned, and embodied. Focusing on His cause or mission doesn’t equate with focusing on or following Him. It’s all to possible to serve the “god” of serving Jesus as opposed to serving Him out of an enraptured heart that’s been captivated by His irresistible beauty and unfathomable love.
So when I find I’m serving a cause rather than being enraptured by Jesus, what is the path back to Christ? I guess the authors want believers to work that out themselves because there are no prescriptions.
It seems the closest thing to an action plan is in the chapter titled If Jesus Wrote Your Biography. This is a scripture-soaked section in which Jesus speaks directly to you, the reader, explaining your real birth, your growth and development, your destiny, and the end of all things. I plan to meditate on this chapter in-depth and glean some applications for making sure my life is a manifesto for Jesus.