Archive for November, 2021

The Genius of Jesus

Posted: November 11, 2021 in Uncategorized

“How can you take the world’s greatest instrument of death and forever transform it into the greatest symbol of life?” (from “The Genius of Jesus: The Man Who Changed Everything” by Erwin Raphael McManus)

I read a lot, but every now and then a book comes along that stands out from the rest. For me it’s “The Genius of Jesus: The Man Who Changed Everything” by Erwin Raphael McManus. This is a book for everyone, and particularly for those who aren’t already followers of Jesus. If you’ve ever wondered what makes Jesus different from any other historical figure, this book is for you. If you’ve ever wondered what makes the followers of Jesus different from anyone else, this book’s for you.

McManus has spent his life studying genius. He’s fascinated by people like Rembrandt, da Vinci, and Michael Jordan and has studied the various elements of genius. In this book McManus explores the genius of Jesus and has come up with some qualities that make up what he believes makes Jesus unique from others. However, unlike others who stand alone in their genius

McManus comes up with some aspects of Jesus’ genius that may be surprising to many but he presents his argument in a way that is very convincing. He talks about the genius of empathy, the genius of power, the genius of grace, the genius of good, the genius of true and the genius of beautiful. Here are some quotes that I think give a picture of the clarity of his writing.

Empathy: If Jesus reveals one great insight about genius, it is that empathy is the highest form of intelligence… In the end, we will see that Jesus did not simply come to ensure that we understand God. He came so that we would know that God understands us.

Power: In the same way that humility is always more powerful than arrogance and generosity is the great power over greed, servanthood is the singular power that can overcome obligation. Obligation is false power. Intention is a power that elevates you to your highest freedom.

Grace: Grace by any definition is transcendent. Even in the most mundane environments, it evokes wonder. You know grace when you see it. It elevates. It transcends. It carries a touch of the diving. Grace manifests in favour that seems unfair, in works that can only be described as a masterpiece. It is undeniable.

Good: This is where the genius of Jesus gives us a new way to wade through the complexity of real life. Jesus does not simply teach us to see the difference between good and evil, or even to choose between right and wrong. He treats those as obvious distinctions. Instead Jesus teaches us to choose between the right and the good. It may seem counterintuitive, but the greatest enemy to doing the most good is living your life always trying to be right.

True: When Jesus says he is the truth, he is saying there is no gap between the source and the voice. He can be trusted completely, because instead of perceiving the truth or learning what is true, he is the singular source of all that is true. He is both the scientist and the science. He is the one who can be trusted. He can never get you lost, because he is the compass and the North Star. Truth exists because God can be trusted.

Beautiful: The cross is the story that words could not tell, the elegant solution to our most complex problems. The cross is tragedy. The cross is beauty. The cross is the genius of Jesus.

Here’s a suggestion, get a group together, read it then discuss each chapter individually. People have been writing about Jesus for centuries, but this is a book that’s worth a second look. I’d be surprised if after reading it you’re not convinced of the genius of Jesus.