This is adapted from Trip Lee’s foreword to Greg Gilbert’s new book Who Is Jesus? (Crossway).
Have you ever mistaken a person for someone else? I remember being at a party with my best friend in high school. We had just arrived when we saw our friend Nicole standing in the corner having a good time. We had spent time with Nicole and her pregnant friend the day before, so we decided to walk over and greet them. My best friend said hey to Nicole, rubbed her friend’s belly with a kind smile, and thoughtfully asked, “How’s the baby?” The only problem was that this was a different friend. And she wasn’t in the least bit pregnant. Man, was I glad I didn’t speak up first.
It can be embarrassing and humorous to make mistakes about other people’s identities. You risk looking dumb and offending others, so it’s best to be sure before you speak up.
Greg Gilbert’s new book is about recognizing someone else’s identity, but the stakes are much higher. When we talk about Jesus, we’re in a totally different category than recognizing old friends or acquaintances. When we’re mistaken about Jesus’s identity, it’s more than embarrassing—it’s tragic.
This is why Greg states from the outset that the book’s title, Who Is Jesus?, is the most important question we’ll ever ask. That may sound ridiculous to seekers, skeptics, and maybe even some Christians, but if you keep reading you will see why it’s such a vital question. Sure, we’re not going to run into the Prince of Peace on the street or at a party, so it’s not about putting a name with a face. It’s about responding to him with the honor and trust that he deserves.
For example, Greg writes, “Once you begin to understand that Jesus is in fact God, and that he is in a unique and exclusive relationship with God the Father, you also begin to understand that if you want to know the God who created you, then you need to know Jesus. There’s just no other way.”
If Jesus was just another guy, then knowing him makes no difference. But if Jesus is the Son of God and the only Savior of the world, then knowing him makes all the difference.
Too often we’ve mistaken Jesus for just another man. Or just another good teacher. Or just another prophet. But none of those descriptions is enough. So in this important little book, Greg helps us to think rightly about who Jesus actually is.
I love Who Is Jesus? because it’s engaging. I actually enjoyed reading it. It’s simple enough for anybody to read, and it addresses real questions. I also love this book because it’s filled with Scripture. Greg isn’t trying to conjure up new ways to look at Jesus. He’s interested only in the actual historical truth. Who is this Jesus, and why does he matter? Rather than listen to historians who never saw him, Greg focuses on the testimony of reliable eyewitnesses who met him. He focuses on God’s Word. This makes for an authoritative, potentially life-changing book.
Jesus made some radical claims, and he’s the most talked about person in all of history. Who did he claim to be? And is that who he really is? I can think of no better small book to help you answer those questions. I think you’ll be as blessed by it as I was.