When God-in-the-flesh showed up twenty centuries ago in Palestine, the religious PhDs rejected him and the prostitutes and social outcasts flocked to him. Why? . . Because the open welcome of divine grace that Jesus offers, open to anyone who would simply leave their moral resume at home, is not predictable. It is not safe. It is subversive. . .
In this book, Dane Ortlund reflects on this subversive grace as it uniquely emerges in each of the four Gospel accounts. In each Gospel, the message and mission of Jesus is deeply surprising:
- In Matthew, we see the surprise of disobedient obedience
- In Mark, we see the surprise of the king undergoing the fate of a criminal
- In Luke, we see the surprise of the insiders becoming outsiders and the outsiders becoming insiders
- In John, we see the surprise of the Creator of the universe becoming one of his own creatures.
Such surprises confound our law-marinated hearts. But the good news that Jesus won with his own blood will not be tamed. This good news is defiant.
This book exists to exult in this good news and the scandalous mercy Jesus loves to pour out on needy sinners—on people like you and me.
Praise for the book:
"Dane Ortlund's Surprised by Jesus is a very helpful guide to a gospel-centered understanding of Christianity. Drawing from material gleaned from all four Gospels, Ortlund presents us with the compelling picture of 'subversive grace'—so different from the pale and timid imitation of pallid, anemic religion. Read this book and soak in the gospel of grace!"
— Josh Moody, Senior Pastor College Church, Wheaton, author of No Other Gospel
"The world wants justice and, truth to tell, the church often wants that too. In this book, Dane Ortlund makes the case from the Gospels that what the church and the world to whom she witnesses needs is grace. Grace is counterintuitive, beyond price, and yet totally free. Left to ourselves, we hate it. We see it as demeaning. We regard it as witnessing to our moral corruption and weakness. Yet grace is God’s way of salvation as revealed in the acts and sayings of Jesus in the four Gospels. This book is that strangest of things: the heartfelt rebuke which brings so much encouragement, freedom, and joy. Well worth reading."
— Carl R. Trueman, Professor, Grove City College
"I love the goal of Dane Ortlund's Surprised by Jesus: to fill our heart tanks with 'the high-octane grace that takes our conscience by the scruff of the neck and breathes new life into us with a pardon so scandalous that we cannot help but be changed.' This is the kind of grace that makes disciples so love the Savior that they will give their lives for his glory."
— Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary