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The Life and Times of Jesus: The Messiah Behind Enemy Lines

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Jesus was a Messiah behind enemy lines – God come into a sinful world ruled by evil. He was on a secret mission to save humanity. To Jesus’ first-century Jewish contemporaries, whatever the Nazarene might be, he was not simply ‘another good rabbi.’ Jesus was a polarizing figure. One believed either that this powerful preacher and wonderworker was uniquely of God or that he Jesus was a Messiah behind enemy lines – God come into a sinful world ruled by evil. He was on a secret mission to save humanity. To Jesus’ first-century Jewish contemporaries, whatever the Nazarene might be, he was not simply ‘another good rabbi.’ Jesus was a polarizing figure. One believed either that this powerful preacher and wonderworker was uniquely of God or that he was an agent of the Evil One. As he said in Luke’s Gospel, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Lk. 11:23). We often speak of the love, mercy, and compassion of Jesus, but Malachi also prophesied of him, “Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire” (Mal. 3:1-2). That is indeed how he came. Jesus was always moved by love of God and neighbor, but he was not always ‘nice.’ He was “meek and humble of heart” (Mt. 11:29) but never tame. Innocent though he was, it is little wonder that his boldness and zeal for righteousness provoked such powerful enemies; he knew it would be so. Jesus walked the earth at a time when human life had become cheapened, and prompt and brutal execution was a matter not so much of justice as of expedience. Ultimately, Jesus’ paradoxical roles as fiery prophet and meek Lamb of God would intersect on the wood of the cross.


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Jesus was a Messiah behind enemy lines – God come into a sinful world ruled by evil. He was on a secret mission to save humanity. To Jesus’ first-century Jewish contemporaries, whatever the Nazarene might be, he was not simply ‘another good rabbi.’ Jesus was a polarizing figure. One believed either that this powerful preacher and wonderworker was uniquely of God or that he Jesus was a Messiah behind enemy lines – God come into a sinful world ruled by evil. He was on a secret mission to save humanity. To Jesus’ first-century Jewish contemporaries, whatever the Nazarene might be, he was not simply ‘another good rabbi.’ Jesus was a polarizing figure. One believed either that this powerful preacher and wonderworker was uniquely of God or that he was an agent of the Evil One. As he said in Luke’s Gospel, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Lk. 11:23). We often speak of the love, mercy, and compassion of Jesus, but Malachi also prophesied of him, “Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire” (Mal. 3:1-2). That is indeed how he came. Jesus was always moved by love of God and neighbor, but he was not always ‘nice.’ He was “meek and humble of heart” (Mt. 11:29) but never tame. Innocent though he was, it is little wonder that his boldness and zeal for righteousness provoked such powerful enemies; he knew it would be so. Jesus walked the earth at a time when human life had become cheapened, and prompt and brutal execution was a matter not so much of justice as of expedience. Ultimately, Jesus’ paradoxical roles as fiery prophet and meek Lamb of God would intersect on the wood of the cross.

30 review for The Life and Times of Jesus: The Messiah Behind Enemy Lines

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Blackerby

    Very interesting book about the last days of Jesus on earth. Even though written from a Catholic perspective, this Baptist learned a lot from this book. Although I am a Baptist, I study books from many faiths to increase my knowledge.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caron Tackett

    Awesome Awesome I chose this rating because it tells the life of Jesus in an ordinary way. the reader can picture the way people saw Jesus as if you were there.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    This is an extremely well-written book which uses a lot of Scripture and historical records to tell the reader about the life and times of Jesus up to a part of his early ministry. Of course, the Bible is the best book written about Jesus, but this book fills in some historical background which helps the reader understand what was happening during the date and times of his birth and life and the author has done a lot of research and study to compile this great story. Great job, Michael J. Ruszal This is an extremely well-written book which uses a lot of Scripture and historical records to tell the reader about the life and times of Jesus up to a part of his early ministry. Of course, the Bible is the best book written about Jesus, but this book fills in some historical background which helps the reader understand what was happening during the date and times of his birth and life and the author has done a lot of research and study to compile this great story. Great job, Michael J. Ruszala

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chaplain Stanley Chapin

    A VERY thoughtful view It made you feel like you were back in Sunday school and then at the seminary with excellent interpretation and description

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Catholic author, Michael Ruszala, wrote a step by step review or examination of Jesus' life. The book is easy to read and presented one or two interesting cultural cues into gospel stories. I started with the second book without reading the first, but I had no trouble jumping in. Catholic author, Michael Ruszala, wrote a step by step review or examination of Jesus' life. The book is easy to read and presented one or two interesting cultural cues into gospel stories. I started with the second book without reading the first, but I had no trouble jumping in.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristine Vigil

    Clarification on the life of Jesus I enjoyed this book and some of the topics enclosed I had never stopped to think about before. I found it helpful to have more of the cultural norms of the day clarified as I believe it helps shape the suffering Jesus endured for us all.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence Cutting

    Excellent This book, the second in a two part, popular series, is much better written than the first book. Although written from a Catholic perspective it may be enjoyed by all. I recommend it highly.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Sheehan

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Mennitt

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Holloway

  11. 5 out of 5

    Todd J.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Todd Truax

  13. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Hoke

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chele Morel

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anthony De Giovanni

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jameson Bangkuai

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jon Roth

  18. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Larson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marie Flanigan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen L. Gladle

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sanjoy Sen

  22. 5 out of 5

    William Clark

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Stewart

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

  25. 4 out of 5

    Riley

  26. 4 out of 5

    Johnaida Gutierrez-carbonell

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jane

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lucie Cavaroc

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Mead

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carla

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