Book: Seeing Jesus – A Disciple’s Perspective
This is a book to reconnect Christians to their Master. If you’ve gotten caught up in Christianity without Christ, if your relationship with Jesus is one in name or theory only, then this book will help you see and know Him in a new way. It will encourage you to keep looking, listening, and especially following Him on your own. ‘Seeing Jesus’ is a short, easy read, with a strong discipleship focus. It is written in four parts, each of which can be read by itself.
This book is available through the following links (as well as special order through your local book store):
smashwords.com (Other e-readers: Nook, iPhone, Sony, etc.)
Why did you write this book?
I wrote this book because I want to connect or reconnect believers with the living Lord Jesus Christ.
I see a disconnect between many Christians and Jesus. The disconnect is not one of theology or belief but of relationship. It’s very common for Christians to lack an active, living relationship with Jesus. I’m not just talking about backsliders. There are many believers who say and believe they have a relationship with Jesus, but they have no experience of this relationship. They obey Jesus’ commands given to all believers as recorded in the New Testament, but they don’t hear Jesus’ call to themselves personally.
Jesus said His sheep hear His voice. He told His disciples if they love Him, He and His Father would come and make their home with them. He said He would send the Holy Spirit to live inside of them, the internal evidence of their salvation. These statements point to a living, personally verifiable reality that should be evident in the lives of all believers.
So, I wrote this book to get believers back into contact with Jesus so they can follow Him better. I’m not so much concerned about whether people agree with everything I say. I consider the book a success if it creates a hunger that drives the reader to know and follow Jesus.
What is this book about?
This book is about knowing Jesus Christ and following Him. Some very good discipleship (i.e. follow-Jesus) books have come out recently, like David Platt’s Radical, Kyle Idleman’s Not A Fan, and Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. This book is not meant to compete with them or play off their popularity, as I had written most of the content of this book before I had heard of these others. But I do approach the topic of following Jesus differently. I want to encourage readers to see the importance of knowing Jesus better so they can become better Christ-centered disciples.
The first part of the book, A Gospel Travelogue, is simple observation: seeing Jesus with fresh eyes, as His disciples and those around Him might have first seen Him during the beginning of His ministry. What did they think of Him and how did their understanding of Him change over time? Sometimes I allow what Jesus said to create questions rather than answers, or even conflicts with possible misunderstandings of who He is. It is through spending time examining our Master closely that we begin to know Him better.
The second part of the book, What It Means To Follow Jesus, moves on to what Jesus requires of those who desire to follow Him, as recorded in Matthew 16:24. If you’re going to follow Jesus, you need to do things His way. He said, “If any one desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” It’s important to know what denying yourself and taking up your cross means, because you can’t follow Him without doing those things, too. Each of us must count the cost of following Jesus.
The third part is taken from Matthew chapter 9 and the first part of chapter 10. Look, Pray, Go shows the necessity of seeing people through Jesus’ eyes. Generally, we don’t see people the way Jesus sees them. But it’s essential that we see do, so we can effectively serve and fulfill the Great Commission. We need supernatural vision to see the lost sheep and the white harvest around us.
The last part, Discipleship – Then and Now, compares discipleship today with the way Jesus and the apostles raised disciples, and there are some significant differences. Have you ever wondered how discipleship was so effective in the gospels and early church without all of our modern programs (i.e. seminaries, Sunday Schools, radio programs, etc.)? While I don’t think today’s programs are bad, I do think we’re missing out of key features of the New Testament model.
Who is the book written for?
Primarily, I wrote the book for believers, whether young or mature. I want to strengthen their walk with Jesus. I want them to get to know His heart and mind better.
Secondarily, I wrote the book for nominal Christians, to reveal the true Jesus to them and help them get off the fence in terms of Jesus’ authority over their lives.
I also tried to make the book somewhat accessible to non-believers as an introduction to who Jesus is, although I expect some of the book will go over their heads.
What type of book is this?
This is not a dry, theological textbook. I write the way I speak: informally. I made the book very readable, yet insightful and deep. I tried to avoid the ‘pushy’ dogmatic approach because I want to let the Holy Spirit do His work.
In each section, I focused on making getting my point across without getting sidetracked on various doctrinal issues. As such, I leave some questions unanswered, such as whether baptism is by sprinkling or immersion, or what Jesus meant when He told Nathaneal he would see the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. I want the reader to be able to study those things for himself. I also want to show that not everything Jesus said was understood by His disciples at the time.
You said some parts of the book are from your imagination. How can I tell which parts those are?
This refers only to the first part of the book, A Gospel Travelogue. In most places it should be obvious by the language I use. When I say perhaps or I think, I am expressing what I think is a good possibility. At other times, my ‘imagination’ is based on the way things work in this world. For example, I describe Jesus when came back from his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness as “gaunt, emaciated”. The Bible doesn’t directly say this, but I don’t see Jesus as being somehow protected from this natural consequence of extreme fasting. As a human being, He would have lived under the same laws of nature that we all do. The writer of Hebrews said, “he had to be made like his brothers in every respect”, which in context refers especially to what He suffered.
The parts where I used my imagination are not necessarily fiction. Things may have happened the way I described, or they may not. The only way to know for sure which parts are factual is by reading and studying the Bible for yourself. Once you know the truth, you can safely discard what I imagine as you desire. Note that none of what I claim as actually true is based on any of my conjectures, but on what the word of God says.
How did this book come about?
I did not intend to write a book – it just turned out that way. The contents are based on studies and blog posts I’ve written over the years.
Years ago, I read of the benefits of repeatedly reading a same book of the Bible over and over again. I started with some of the epistles, and it really helped me to internalize their meanings better. Then I did the same for the Sermon on the Mount, and then for whole Gospels, so I could know Jesus better, and this helped, too.
As a benefit of this approach, once as I read Matthew 9, I suddenly noticed how Jesus saw people differently than those around Him – differently than I had seen them before. So I wrote a post on the now defunct Michael Card forum called ‘What Jesus Saw’, which I also posted on my website. Upon further study, I expanded this into a message for my church called ‘Look, Pray, Go’.
The idea of seeing Jesus and those around Him in a new way inspired me to begin a new adult class series at my church on Jesus’ ministry years from the perspective of those around him. We got a few chapters into John before the class ended. (We merged our adult class with one at another church in town and the subject changed.) The material I had put together for the class got recycled into my new Fadingman blog, which became the first part of the book. Originally, I intended the book to consist entirely of the Travelogue , but I found some earlier material I had written, including Look, Pray¸Go, fit into the theme nicely, so I added them.
Any chance for a sequel?
Possibly. I don’t intend on writing another book, but then again, I didn’t intend to write this one.
How did you come up with the title?
My purpose is to get the reader into the Bible to see Jesus rather than rely on what others (including myself) say. To do that, the book contains what I see of Jesus. The subtitle, ‘A Disciple’s Perspective’, can be understood both from my perspective as a disciple, and from the perspective of the gospel writers and witnesses of Jesus. Hopefully, as people read how I see Jesus, they will be encouraged to see Him for themselves.
What is the scripture on the cover?
The scripture is from John 1 of the World English Bible, a new public-domain translation. I thought this chapter appropriate because it contains many introductions to Jesus, i.e. the ‘Come and see’s.
Why did you choose that desolate desert picture for the cover?
The picture is local to where I live. It is of the salt-flats in Death Valley, about 10 miles north of Furnace Creek, looking south, and close to the Beatty Bypass road. Although it doesn’t look exactly the same as the Israeli desert, it reminds me of the environment where Jesus spent His 40 days of testing. I was thinking about adding a robed figure seen from behind, which would be what a disciple would see as he literally followed Jesus, but decided to leave it out. Maybe I’ll add it for a later edition. Or maybe I’ll change the cover entirely.
What’s with the ho-hum author bio on the back of the book?
I don’t like to draw attention to myself. The book is meant to draw attention to Jesus. I don’t consider myself a professional writer. I’m not a pastor. I’m an electronics technician by trade. But, I do want to know Jesus better, and the more I know Him, the more I want others to know Him.
I purposely kept my biography ‘plain’ to show that anyone can know Jesus. Such knowledge is not limited to those with a formal theological education.