Meeting Jesus with the Help of a Great New Book


I’ll admit it: I let Eric Sammons’s new book gather dust before I picked it up to read it. I don’t like that I felt an aversion to a book that looked suspiciously like a Bible study that I either (a) would not understand or (b) would not enjoy.

When I finally did pick up Who Is Jesus Christ? Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew, I found myself face-to-face with a book unlike any other I had read. It was a Bible study of sorts, but instead of approaching the Gospel of Matthew straight through, Sammons organized his approach based on the titles of Jesus found in the Gospel.

I had never thought to count the titles, and I certainly wouldn’t have thought you could write an entire book about them!

And WHAT a book! Hands down, this has earned the special honor of being a book I will lend very, very carefully, because I not only WANT to reread it, I PLAN to reread it!

What I loved most is that, in the course of exploring Jesus’ titles and names, I found myself thinking of Him as more approachable, more human, and even more interesting. It’s just too easy to think of Jesus as a far-off being, a different kind of human, a theory I can’t put into practice. Jesus as a person, as someone who had dirt under his fingernails—that’s the kind of place Sammons took me with this examination of the Gospel of Matthew.

The Gospel, in Sammons’s expert care, turns into a living, breathing correspondence. It’s transformed from a bunch of stories I’ve heard a thousand times into a book dedicated to me. It went from a collection of pages in my Bible into a conversation God started with me.

I’d be remiss not to mention what’s usually my least favorite part of any book: the reflection questions. Oh, I always see them, and then after I roll my eyes or skim past them, I move along and wonder if anyone actually ever uses them. I came to the conclusion that Eric Sammons is probably the kind of person I’d love to have as a teacher, because these reflection questions were relevant and short, just enough to keep me thinking before I moved along to the next chapter.

Who Is Jesus Christ? is a wonderful read, a brilliant approach, and an avenue of study I’ll be using again. I only hope this is the first of many books of this sort for Eric Sammons.

Not only do I highly recommend this book, I have a copy to give away courtesy of the author. Leave a comment by next Friday, May 20, at midnight PST, and you’ll be entered to win!


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  1. Thank you for this excellent review. I had seen this book on several online Catholic book stores but did not buy it because I wondered if it would be worth it. Now I am certain I want to get a copy and read t.i

  2. This was one of the best books I read last year–I completely share you enthusiasm. I’m convinced that this is the perfect example of Catholic Scripture study. It utilizes all the tools of our tradition, from the saints to the Fathers, modern scholarship and traditional devotion. You can read more of my review here:

  3. Sounds really interesting–I would love to win this book, but I am sufficiently intrigued that I have added it to my “to buy” list in case I don’t win it!

  4. Vickie Radaker on

    I really enjoyed your post, can’t wait till I’m able to get this book to read, thanks for sharing with us

  5. Victoria DeBayle on

    I’m a fan of the Gospel of John myself, and would love the challenge to gain a deeper understanding of the Gospel of Matthew! :) Thank you for sharing!

  6. Sounds like a good book. Would love the chance to read it and get to know the Gospel of Matthew better.

  7. I would love to read this book! I really enjoy studying Scripture…and this could add something to our weekly women’s study group at our parish! thanks for the review and the chance to win it!

  8. Great review, Sarah! Sounds like a powerful book. Maybe you could talk about it in a Mary in the Kitchen segment. You could even through in a few questions for reflection. 😉

  9. Lisa sent me to enter this contest. I always do what Lisa says. But then I read your review and I was like, I always do what Sarah tells me to do.

    So Sarah, dear, please tell me to take the rest of the evening off, pour myself a glass of something tasty, and finish reading the last book you recommended to get ready for this one.


  10. I have to be away from home next month for 3 weeks for my cancer treatmet; would love in inspirational book to keep me busy without the kids

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