Those of you who have followed my blog over the last couple of months know that I am a huge fan of Author and Pastor Mark Driscoll, who’s Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington has grown in leaps and bounds over the past ten years! What is amazing about the story of Mars Hill’s growth is that Driscoll refuses to compromise on any issues related to what Scripture says on controversial topics such as Jesus being the one and only way to Heaven, and homosexuality being a sin in the eyes of God. He preaches the Bible and doesn’t ever apologize for it! In a culture that is more and more pluralistic each day, this is a victory!
Most recently, I read Driscoll’s 2007 book “Vintage Jesus” which he based on a series of sermons he gave back in 2006. Throughout this amazing book’s 12 chapters, Driscoll examines questions about Jesus in terms of Jesus’ Divinity, Jesus being human and God at the same time, Jesus’ mission on the earth, why Jesus had to die, and where Jesus is today. Following will be some of my thoughts on some of the many highlights of this book.
In examining how human Jesus was, Driscoll concludes that Jesus was 100% human and 100 % God, meaning that Jesus was God, but also understood everything about what it was like to be human. He would have had to use the bathroom, and would have laughed and cried and felt every emotion we humans experience, yet he did all of this without sinning! I particularly thought is was cool how Driscoll mentioned that Jesus must have been fun to be around, because he was invited to parties and weddings (John 2) and frequently spoke to large crowds ( one example is in Matthew 5).
There is also a chapter that I would recommend anyone read who has ever wondered about the Old Testament prophecies regarding Jesus. In a chapter entitled “How Did People Know Jesus Was Coming” Driscoll reviews 25 Old Testament prophecies regarding Jesus, and then shows how Jesus fulfilled each and every one of those prophecies by citing parts of the New Testament! It is very powerful to see Jesus’ fulfillment of so many prophecies given in some instances, 1000 years before He was born! Whether you are a Christian or a person simply questioning the existence of Jesus as Lord and Savior, I dare you to read this chapter and not be blown away!
Another fine point in this book, that completely made me stop in my tracks was a point Driscoll makes in the chapter on why Jesus had to die. In this chapter Driscoll reflects on the statement the Apostle Paul makes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 about how Jesus became sin so that we might become righteous in God’s eyes. Driscoll writes that when Jesus hung on the cross “Jesus became a homosexual, alcoholic, thief, glutton, addict, pervert, adulterer, coveter, idol worshiper, whore, pedophile, self-righteous religious prig---and whatever else we are.” That is why He had to die such an ugly and unfathomably gruesome death. He was taking God’s wrath for the entire sin of the world on His back, and actually became that sin in the eyes of God as He hung dying on the cross! In light of the fact that we will be celebrating Easter tomorrow, this makes Good Friday, which we celebrated yesterday, all the more sobering a day for us to commemorate!
One other section of this expository look at Jesus is Driscoll’s discussion of the three roles Jesus plays in our lives. He is first a Prophet, who speaks directly into our lives about areas in which we sin, and leads us into repentance for those sins. Next, He is our great High Priest, who as the author of Hebrews points out is now “the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him.”(Hebrews 5:9b) Another words, once Jesus as our Prophet convicts us of our sin, He then intercedes for us on our behalf before God, and God grants us forgiveness (Hebrews 5:1-2). Lastly, though Jesus also should be our King, so that He has rule over everything in our lives. As Driscoll states, “Jesus is not just the King who rules over nations on the earth and principalities and power of the heavens, but He also rules over our pants, web browsers, refrigerator, debit card, cubicle, and car horn. As our King, Jesus demands and deserves obedient loyalty to His commands over every aspect of our life.”
That is powerful stuff, and certainly an area that I need to work on, but it is a process, that takes years of walking with the Lord to establish, though we will never be able to do it perfectly because this is a fallen world with sin in it (Genesis 3). However, Driscoll is right when he says Jesus needs to be all three of those things in our lives, and as Believers it is good for us to strive to give Jesus authority over every area of our lives! Living this way is not easy, but I can tell you that the more I’ve started giving everything over to Jesus in my own life, the more I’ve seen Him grow me in my love for Him!
Other highlights of this book include the sections where Driscoll looks at where Jesus is today, and what will happen upon Jesus’ return to earth. You see, Driscoll points out quite accurately that we have no idea when Jesus will return, as Jesus Himself told us that He didn’t even know, only God the Father knows (Matthew 24:36). Therefore, Driscoll points out that all these people who claim they have figured out the exact day that Christ will return are bogus, but He will return, and when He does it will be to judge every person who has ever lived. Those that accepted His gift of atonement for their sins, will spend eternity in Heaven with Him, while those who did not accept His redemptive Grace will spend eternity in Hell apart from Him! If that doesn’t make those of us who are Believers want to share the Gospel with everyone we have the opportunity to share it with, I don’t know what will!
To conclude, I can easily recommend this book to just about anyone who wants to learn more about Jesus. Whether you are an inquisitive agnostic or a person who has been a Christian for more than 20 years, I guarantee you will learn something from Mark Driscoll’s incredibly well researched testament to Jesus Christ, the man who was sent by God to save our souls!