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Surprised by Jesus: His Agenda for Changing Everything in A.D. 30 and Today
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Surprised by Jesus: His Agenda for Changing Everything in A.D. 30 and Today


IVP 2006

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


We all know who Jesus is—or think we do. We see children flock to him and gentle wisdom lovingly pour from him. We see the kindest man in the world. But these pictures are deceptively familiar. In the Gospels, Jesus says and does many puzzling things—like shriveling a fig tree or telling followers to keep his miracles a secret. He is hard on his opponents, the Pharisees, but also makes extreme demands on his followers—like urging them to be as perfect as the Father in heaven.

Tim Stafford, informed by acclaimed New Testament scholars such as N. T. Wright, takes us behind such two-dimensional images by unearthing the specific historical and cultural situation of Jesus’ day. What Jesus said about the kingdom of God, sin, Satan, prayer, the temple, Israel, and the people of God were all profoundly affected by his being a Jew in a land dominated by the ancient Roman. In fact, through his message and actions he meant to change things far more profoundly in his day and ours than we can ever imagine.

With Logos Bible Software, Surprised by Jesus: His Agenda for Changing Everything in A.D. 30 and Today is easily searchable. Scripture passages appear on mouse-over, and all cross-references are linked to the other resources in your digital library, making this collection more powerful and easier to access than ever before for scholarly work or personal Bible study. With the advanced search features of Logos Bible Software, you can perform powerful searches by topic or Scripture reference, such as finding every mention of “Jesus” or “Luke 15.”

Key Features

  • Helps general readers appreciate the historical and cultural background of Jesus’ day
  • Offers perspective-changing insights on what difference Jesus’ actions mean today
  • Touches on all the main aspects of Jesus’ lifen

Praise for the Print Edition

Why am I surprised to be, well, surprised, at Surprised by Jesus? My immediate response is how livable the life of Jesus is for us—livable in secularized North America and in our much-maligned church. Tim Stafford has given us Jesus without clichés, without moralisms, without polemic. . . . Jesus not only as he was, but as he is.

Eugene H. Peterson, professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College

An open reading of the Gospels reveals what has always been true: Jesus is awkward to deal with. Jesus is compelling but not comfortable. Jesus is familiar but not pegged. Jesus is compassionate but not sentimental. Jesus is Jewish but not exclusive. Jesus is provocative but not reductionist. These and many other extremely important things shine out through Tim Stafford’s Suprised by Jesus. By all means, read it—but watch out!

—Mark Labberton, senior pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley

When I pray, ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ I am asking God to do, well . . . what Tim so powerfully describes in Surprised by Jesus. . . . No doubt about it, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord—and the book . . . shows you how to be a part of God’s strategy to make it happen!

—Joni Eareckson Tada, Joni and Friends

With the grace of an experienced and kindly guide, Tim Stafford helps us scale some of the high peaks and rare air of the Gospels. By making accessible and relevant some of the most important scholarship on Jesus today, Stafford allows all of us—even pastors, professors, and layleaders—to be genuinely ‘;surprised’; and challenged by Jesus anew. The chapter on preaching alone should be required reading before any attempts to teach from the Gospels today.

—Tod Bolsinger, senior pastor, San Clemente Presbyterian Church

In an age when much of Christian truth is obscured from view in the church because of its accommodation to the prevailing culture, we need prophetic voices that direct us back to the message of the Bible. Tim Stafford meets this need as he brilliantly exposes the implications of Jesus’ life and teaching to us today. . . . The book is written in such an understandable style that it would be an excellent resource to give to an inquirer wanting to know who Jesus really was.

Ajith Fernando, national director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka

Each decade deserves a fresh look at Jesus, and Tim Stafford has presented us with this one’;s—one answering questions of current thought, yet remaining consistent with historic truth. . . . I believe you’ll be surprised by the lift of the book’s style, by the lift it brings to your own soul and, most significantly, by the life that breathes through your mind’s exposure to the reality of Jesus’ person, power, and purpose.

Jack W. Hayford, founding pastor, The Church on The Way

Product Details

  • Title: Surprised by Jesus: His Agenda for Changing Everything in A.D. 30 and Today
  • Author: Tim Stafford
  • Publisher: IVP
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 253

About Tim Stafford

Tim Stafford is a senior writer for Christianity Today. Among his many books are Knowing the Face of God, As Our Years Increase, The Student Bible (with Philip Yancey), Love, Sex, and the Whole Person, and Never Mind the Joneses.