‘King: The Subversive Life and Death of Jesus’ – A review


King
 is a lot of things all at the same time but most importantly it is both honest and compelling.
In it Jeff Cook lays out the very understandable reasons for the giving up of his God belief.
Christianity gave me no good reason to think it was true, beautiful, or good. In fact, I found the opposite.
This community consistently offered up below average ideas, suggesting below average insights about its extra-ordinary God.
Following this Jeff takes us on a whirlwind tour (and note, this is only a sample from the soon to be released Everything New!) of what he has been reading and rediscovering about Jesus that in turn lead to his return to God belief.
Here we find an exciting and energized presentation of the research and exploration that has went into studies of the historical Jesus (think N.T. Wright, Richard Bauckham etc.).
Even more than that though, here you will find the presentation of a Jesus who is truly disruptive, truly up to something, truly worth following.
Jeff is right, Jesus was a revolutionary. Jesus was a prophet. Jesus was a king. Jesus was a man who saw it as his God-given mission to subvert the practices of Judaism’s distorted religious power and Rome’s domineering, fear-inducing empire.
We see in this short e-book the nature of a cross and the statement crucifixion made
Crosses are billboards. Crosses unveil who is king. The cross is a royal symbol of power and of glory. The cross showcases for everyone who rules the earth.
This is how God becomes king, through Jesus – by making the most fearsome icon of Imperial power his throne. The place where, if you looked, you would see only a body torn to shreds, gasping for breath, with the ironic, ridicule inducing title, ‘King of the Jews’.
Yet for Cook, this is exactly where the vision of God’s kingdom-come-on-earth-as-in-heaven leads the revolutionary Jesus – this is a revolution of love, grace, mercy and healing that defeats death, and the efficient means humanity’s twisted imagination dreams up to make it so, that wins out at Golgotha.
The cross now announces that all that was once sick can be restored, that evil will not have the last word, that God has not abandoned us like so much trash but that he is near in a fundamentally new way. Above all, the cross will never again be the sign that the wicked rule the world, for the cross displays that only this kind of man is worthy of a title like “king.”
In him I see a new kind of power, a new kind of future. In Jesus, I see a new kind of God—one who has taken what was most foul and disgusting in the whole world—the crucified man—and through it has announced to everyone his ability and intension to make everything new.
For too long have we missed this Jesus – the Jesus on a mission; the Jesus who intentionally subverted the entire religious and political structure of the world around him; the Jesus who in leading this kingdom-of-God revolution put fear in the hearts of those in the corridors of power and wound up on a cross because of it; the King Jesus who had life leak out of him on a tree only to find that three days later he was raised the Lord of new creation – and who now asks us to join him.
This is the Jesus Jeff Cook found. This is the Jesus who he tells us about. This is the Jesus that I have been discovering over the past few years. This is the Jesus who has kept me part of the Christian faith and enabled me to affirm its vital nature.
Jeff Cook has not been alone “in viewing the “Christian Living” section of the local bookstore, with a few noteworthy exceptions, [as] a disheartening place where good brains went to die.”
Everything New, as well as King, will not, and do not, belong on those shelves!
Buy or download King here or here.
Jeff Cook teaches philosophy at the University of Northern Colorado. He pastors Atlas Church in Greeley, Colorado, and is the author of Seven: The Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes (Zondervan 2008).
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