Jesus, A Theography

Jesus by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola
A Theography

  • Toward a new kind of biography
  • From eternity past to the second coming
  • The core narrative
  • Jesus revealed through the scriptures
  • Reading scripture as a whole
  • The witness of the Second Testament authors
  • Toward a true Red-Letter Bible
  • Three key points
    • written primarily for a Christian audience
    • beginning in chapter 4, recounting the story of Jesus from birth to second coming
    • written not for scholars but for the general Christian population
Chapter 1 - Christ Before Time
  • Before the foundation of the world
  • The Son and Father loved each other
  • The Son and Father shared the Divine glory
  • The Godhead birthed an eternal purpose and shrouded it in a mystery
  • God finished all things before He began all things
  • The Eternal Cross
  • The Preexistent Logos
Chapter 2 - Christ in Creation: The Macro Version
  • Creation declares the story of Jesus
  • Day One: His birth
  • Day Two: His death
  • Day Three: His resurrection
  • Day Four: His ascension
  • Day Five: His indwelling life
  • Day Six: His rule
  • Day Seven: His rest
  • Day Eight: His bride
  • Back to the Garden
  • The Garden and the Temple of Israel
  • Another perspective on Christ in creation
"Part of the difficulty is that Jesus was and is much, much more than people imagine. Not just people in general, but practicing Christians, the churches themselves." - N.T. Wright

Chapter 3 - Christ in Creation: The Micro Version
  • The Story starts with dirt
  • God plays in the dirt
  • The Garden of God's Temple
  • Our prime directive
  • The trees in the Garden
  • Jesus meets all human need
  • The first negative note in the Bible
  • The Bride in conceived
  • The broken relationships
  • The rest of the Story
 Chapter 4 - Jesus' Birth and Boyhood
  • A culture of paradox
  • Unto us a child is born
  • The lineage of Jesus
  • Can anything good come out of Nazareth?
  • Jesus: The Lamb from Bethlehem
  • The Star of Bethlehem and the Cross of Calvary
  • A Collision of Two Kingdoms
  • Jesus in living color: Early childhood and Messianic identity
  • The visit of the Magi
  • The Messiah the prophets foretold
Chapter 5 - Jesus' Missing Years
  • The stones cry out
  • Jesus' hidden years aren't really hidden
  • The Garden relationship with God
  • The Man who fits no formula
  • Jesus' missing years were not unusual
  • Where the historical evidence points
  • A peek into Jesus' youth
  • What did Jesus look like as He grew into manhood?
Chapter 6 - Jesus'  Preparation for Ministry
  • Twelve year old boys in AD 8
  • A blue-collar Messiah
  • The teach who taught Jesus
  • A possible scenario
  • Jesus begins His ministry
  • Lessons gleaned
Chapter 7 - Jesus' Baptism and Temptation
  • John the Baptist
  • The hinge between the two covenants
  • A prophet meets the Messiah
  • Jesus' ministry begins
  • A perfect human versus a fallen angel
  • The overlooked nature of Satan's attack
  • The First Temptation
  • The Second Temptation
  • The Third Temptation
  • A replay of the First Testament
  • From Nazareth to Capernaum
 "If you want to understand the Scripture in the spirit in which it is written, you have to attend to the content and to the unity of Scripture as a whole."  - Joseph Ratzinger

Chapter 8 - Jesus Chooses His Disciples
  • The new Israel
  • An unexpected band of young men
  • Living with God in human form
  • The Women
  • A radical view of women
  • Jesus' female disciples
  • A new family
  • Jesus' new family
 Chapter 9 - Jesus' Mission Statement
  • Jesus' one-minute mission statement
  • Jesus' mission statement is our take-home final
  • The Mission Statement - Past and Present
"If Jesus made the kingdom of God the center of his message and the center of his endeavor, the greatest need of man, as I see it, is to rediscover the kingdom of God."  - E. Stanley Jones

Chapter 10 - Jesus: Healer and Miracle-Worker
  • The Transfiguration of Jesus
  • Jesus rebuked sickness
  • Sickness in the Jewish mind
  • The Seven Signs of Jesus
  • Jesus is the real temple
  • Jesus' cleansing of the Temple
  • Curing and healing
Chapter 11 - Jesus: Teacher and Preacher
  • The teaching of Jesus
  • Jesus' radical approach to the Scriptures
  • Jesus embodied the Torah
  • Jesus preached the kingdom of God
  • Between the "already" and the "not yet"
  • Jesus' teaching was audience-specific
  • Teaching in parables
 "Have you ever wondered why some of Jesus' stories seem to complicate or even obscure truth rather than clarify or simplify it? Perhaps it's that God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, is not content to speak simply to the rational intelligence, but informs us instead through imagination, intuition, wonder, and epiphany."  - Luci Shaw
  • Jesus brings life and joy
Chapter 12 - The Human Jesus
  • The imagination of Jesus
  • The emotions of Jesus
  • Jesus' sense of humor
  • More than "meek and mild"
  • What makes Jesus angry?
    • Jesus' anger at unfruitfulness
    • Jesus' anger at those who damage children
    • Jesus' anger at self-righteous judgmentalism
  • Jesus' prayer life
  • Jesus' four prayer landscapes
    • Mountains: God-awareness
    • Water: Others-awareness
    • Desert: Self-awareness
    • Garden: Creation-awareness
Chapter 13 - Jesus' Trial and Crucifixion
  • The Garden of Gethsemane
  • In remembrance of her
  • The Third Thief
  • Jesus' action on the cross
  • A stunning reversal - Jesus anointed by a woman
  • The aroma of the altar
  • The cruelty of crucifixion
  • Songs of the cross
 Chapter 14 - The Atonement and the Harrowing of Hell
  • Looking at the cross from a different mountain
  • The atonement prophesied
  • The atonement foreshadowed
  • Jesus' entrance into hell
  • Jesus' descent into hell depicted in creed and art
  • The seeding of the eternal garden
Chapter 15 - The Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost
  •  Swaddling clothes and burial linens
  • Angels in the tomb
  • The Greatest Battle in Human History
  • The resurrection foreshadowed
  • The forty days
  • Jesus' ascension
  • The Emmaus Road
  • A journey toward new understanding
  • Moving upward and forward
  • Pentecost
  • The Jesus Community
Chapter 16 - The Return of the King
  • God's plan for planet earth
  • The central issue of the universe
  • The present yet future kingdom
 "Heaven will be recognized as a country we have already entered, and in whose light and warmth we have already lived." - British Monk Harry Williams
  • The Sabbath and the land
  • The appearance of Jesus
  • The Feasts of Israel
  • Jesus' second coming
Chapter 17 - The Jesus Spirit
  • Jesus' growing awareness of his Messiahship
  • The Jesus Story revealed throughout Scripture
    • David
    • Adam
    • Moses
    • Joseph
    • Isaac
  • Jesus' self-understanding
  • Rethinking the Gospel
  • Back to the beginning
 Appendix - Post-Apostolic Witnesses


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