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!