Book Review: The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ, by Patrick Henry Reardon
By Else Tennessen
Go to the religion section in any bookstore and you will find writings on the “historical Jesus.” These books attempt to bring Jesus down to earth by describing His humanity—usually in gnostic or at worst, fabricated terms. However, in this new book by Orthodox Priest Pat Reardon, we have at last a volume that looks at Jesus’ human life with a view to Scripture and the history of the time as has been handed down to us from old.
Father Pat takes us through Jesus’ human life and carefully examines what it meant for Our Lord to lead a life on earth. Scripture teaches us that Jesus was one of us—but without sin--and this theme is explored through a look at Jesus’ growing up; baptism; learning a trade (carpentry); relationships with the public, family and friends; His temptation; His ministry; and His Death and Resurrection. Father Pat posits that Jesus’ self-awareness and knowledge of His mission grew with Him as He grew, just as we become more of “ourselves” as our lives progress.
Answered are questions such as: What did Jesus do as a youth? When did Jesus know He was God? Did Jesus disobey His parents? Father Pat also explains difficult passages of Scripture where Jesus appears cynical or disrespectful! He anticipates many of the questions we often ask silently but are afraid to voice.
I was fascinated and blessed by this book, and I recommend it to you. Father Pat’s wonderful, clear writing make our Lord pop off the page and many times I found myself saying, Jesus is wonderful! and praising God for the clarity in which I saw Christ. There is nothing in this book to offend and confound—the picture of Jesus here is completely scriptural but so real that we can imagine ourselves meeting Him in the street.
One of my favorite chapters was the one titled, “Jesus and the Women.” These women were ones who followed Him on His ministry travels, women He healed and women in His family. Father Pat draws out clearly how Jesus related to these women—called them by name—and loved them, setting an example for how women should be treated. This was revolutionary, for at that time women were less than second-class citizens in many cultures. Yet by dealing with them, Jesus elevates them; by loving them, He blesses them. His compassion for both genders is remarkable.
This is a perfect book to read during the Lenten season as we struggle with the realization of our own humanity and failings. It reminds us that our Lord came down to us. He recognized our weaknesses and failings. He is human, too, so He can “relate.”
Check out this book. You won’t be sorry.
The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ. By Father Patrick Henry Reardon. 225 pages. Thomas Nelson Publishers: 2012. ISBN: 9781595553713.