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Surprised by Jesus

Subversive Grace in the Four Gospels

Dane C Ortlund



Surprised by Jesus

Subversive Grace in the Four Gospels

Dane C Ortlund



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  • Title

    Surprised by Jesus

  • Author(s)

    Dane C Ortlund

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  • Publisher

    Evangelical Press

  • Bible Book


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Dane C Ortlund

Dane C Ortlund

Dane C. Ortlund (PhD, Wheaton College) is the executive vice president of Bible publishing and Bible publisher at Crossway. He serves as an editor for the Knowing the Bible series and the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, and is the author of several books, including Edwards on the Christian Life. He lives with his wife, Stacey, and their five children in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Overall rating

5.0 based on 3 reviews

Another Convicting Look at Jesus

As someone who's been a believer for 15 years, I am always skeptical when someone says they are going to tell me something about Jesus that would surprise me. Yet Dane Ortlund takes familiar ideas and takes a fresh approach in looking at themes from the individual Gospels which did end up surprising me at times. I'm reminded that I have arrived in full understanding in the morality, mission, community, and identity of Jesus. Insights about how the entire literary structure of Mark sheds light on Jesus' self-sacrificial mission and how we should see that mission was a profound insight I had not considered before. It made me want to go read the Gospel of Mark again! My favorite quote comes from Ortlund's exploration of Matthew where he talks about our hearts outlook on our salvation and law versus grace. If all that we are is by grace and not by our own keeping of the law, "then there is no limit to what God can ask of us. But if some corner of our virtue is due to personal contribution, there is a ceiling on what God can ask of us." I pondered this for a long time and found I often find myself thinking this way. Jesus owes me something because I live a certain way. This helped me reorient once again back to the jaw-dropping grace of God in Christ. This book has something for everyone! From overviews of literary structure of Mark to devotional gold in Matthew, there is something for the Bible nerd and the new believer. I highly recommend this book from our team at EP and 10ofThose. I gave it to a family member once I had finished because I had to share it! I know you will too.

Derek Hunter

Nourishing and Challenging Look at Grace

A wonderful book on the surprising and powerful nature of Christ as seen through the four gospels. This book will nourish and challenge your faith!

*I am an employee of 10ofThose but was not required to give a positive review.



The aim of the book is to take the Jesus who we have domesticated, and made into our own image, and surprise us with the real Jesus of the gospels. Each gospel account gives us a specific shot of God’s grace in the person of Christ, and Ortlund gives us a deep hit of that grace as he digs into each of the gospels and blows us away with Christ. He shows us: - the perils of disobedient obedience, where the heart is hung up on the rules rather than the creator in Matthew’s gospel; - the outrageous grace of the outsiders being the insiders in Luke’s account; - the shock and necessity of the king hanging on the cross in Mark’s gospel; - the wonder of the creator taking on flesh in John’s gospel. Ortlund’s deep, heart-level understanding of all four gospels is brilliantly evident as he helps us be surprised by Jesus again and again. He is a wordsmith, and the crafting of the prose makes it a joy to read. Love his enthusiasm that seeps out of the book, and his deft weaving in the odd Puritan along the way. An outstanding book that shows us Jesus, gives us the mind-blowing reality of God’s grace and makes us want to read the gospel accounts for ourselves and delight in Jesus all the more.


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