For centuries, artists have been painting pictures of Jesus. Jesus with children surrounding Him. Jesus praying in a garden. Jesus eating the Last Supper with His disciples. It is from these pictures that most people form their opinions of Jesus. He was gentle, meek, mild and He smiled a lot. But in his book, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, John MacArthur paints another picture of Jesus: The Jesus who tells it like it is, even when the truth hurts.
In an age of tolerance, it’s so easy for our own faith to get watered down. We don’t want to offend, and we don’t want to turn people off to the Gospel. While those are noble goals, we often achieve them at the expense of the Truth. MacArthur puts it this way: “It’s…acceptable to voice your disagreements – as long as you pillow each criticism between positive comments about whatever you are critiquing”.
In his book, MacArthur explores the ways Jesus turned the idea of religious tolerance on its head. Throughout His life on Earth, Jesus constantly came into conflict with the religious leaders, but unlike the meek and mild Jesus seen patting small children on the head, we see in these confrontations a Jesus who has a zero-tolerance policy toward false teachers and religious pride.
As is typical of a book written by MacArthur, the tone is academic, rather than entertaining. At times, the language is higher-level and may even occasionally require the use of a dictionary. But the message of the book is well-presented and thoroughly backed up with Scripture, which is also typical of MacArthur. The book is an excellent source of “devil’s advocate” thinking, and is a refreshing change for those who are tired of seeing Jesus presented only as a pacifist, a good teacher and a tender healer. Yes, Jesus is certainly all of those things. But when we choose to only see those parts of Him, we fail to see the complete picture, and we dilute not only the reality of who He is, but also our own Faith.