Pastor John Ortberg begins Who is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by stating that Jesus’s life and teaching simply drew people to follow Him. Jesus entered the world with no dignity and died with even less dignity, yet something about Jesus keeps prodding people to do what they would rather not. Jesus’s ministry was deeply concerned with the worth of a human being. Jesus felt pain when anyone was undervalued. We find ourselves when we affirm that our highest calling is “coming to know and do the will of God in whose image we are created.”
Jesus taught to change lives. As Pastor Ortberg notes, we need to become cruciform- reshaped by the Cross. For Jesus the categories are holy and sinful, which puts all of us on the same side. We all are sinful and in need of Christ’s love. In the first few centuries following Jesus’s death and resurrection, the early church flourished in the midst of persecution. Early Christians understood that there is a kingdom not of this world, that there is a love stronger than hate. The condition of our hearts is what matters. Our hearts must be bathed and pervaded by divine love.
Through Jesus’s death and resurrection the Cross changed form being symbolic of an empire’s power to being symbolic of the suffering love of God, from expressing the ultimate threat to expressing ultimate hope. On a Saturday, however, the disciples’ dream died and God seemed silent, just as our dream died following our ministry downsizing or vocation loss. The author lists 3 ways we can choose to respond: despair, denial, or waiting- trusting in God even when He seems very far away. Jesus will endure any suffering we go through in order to save us. Pastor Ortberg concludes the book with an invitation:
“You have to go through tomorrow anyway. Try it with Jesus. Come and see.”