Do you lose your temper? Speak before considering how your words might be received? Have you ever made up a little white lie to get out of an appointment or work day at church? Drank one too many beers? Had that extra cookie or ate every last one in the new box? Broken a promise? Fibbed to your spouse about how much something cost?
Have you ever said to yourself, “My brother is a jerk” or “That little neighbor girl is a bit on the homely side”? If none of those apply, see if you can think of something you did that wasn’t your finest hour. If you’re still drawing a blank, try this: is there anything in your life you wouldn’t want to go viral on Youtube?
Okay, got it?
Now, think about how you felt the moment before you lost it, said what you shouldn’t, weighed telling the white lie against the cost of telling the truth, considered picking up yet another cookie, or realized you were about to break a promise. Would your decision be the same if Jesus was physically present, quizzically looking into your face and knew precisely what you were thinking? Jesus knows what you’re thinking even when you can’t see Him so there’s no sense daydreaming that He can’t. You can’t hide. He knows.
How would your life change if you really heard and saw Jesus beside you 24 hours a day? I usually avoid fiction that presumes to speak for Christ but I found this book both satisfying and thought provoking. It is well written, warm, hopeful, and doesn’t include anything patently unbiblical.
That’s the premise for Seeing Jesus. It’s a novel with a twist and also pretty good theology. Here’s the official book tease:
Philly Thompson lives alone with his cat, Irving, in a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago. He worries about his weight, frets about his job, longs to get back with his ex-girlfriend, and wishes his ma would stop nagging him. To you and me, a pretty average guy. To Jesus, the raw material for a miracle . . . or two.
Seeing Jesus deserves its recommended status. I read it a few years ago and again last year. Honestly, when’s the last time you consciously considered that the Lord Jesus Christ is with you each moment of every day, week, month and year? Jones’ book is unarguably fiction, but the question it suggests is important. It motivates me to compare the way I hope to be with the way I really am.
Every now and again Philly’s experience comes to mind, challenging me to examine by thoughts and behavior; most frequently when I feel irritated or consider indulging in a less-than-grateful moment. What if Jesus were in the room waiting for me to explain myself? Would I feel the same, sport the same expression, or consider reacting the same way knowing that the Savior of my soul stands next to me (as He does)? He observes every movement and knows every thought. Of course He doesn’t need me to explain, He already knows. Most of the time I think God just wants us to do a gut check on reality vs our very human tendency to rationalize. He wants to know if we know.
Seeing Jesus is pleasantly paced, easy to read, entertaining, and (hopefully) challenging. As a non-fiction Christian author I may be unduly critical of Christian fiction, but this one deserves consideration by seekers as well as believers. Perhaps you’ll finish the book wanting more. The best compliment you can give an author is to want more. When I read the last page I wasn’t quite ready to bid Philly good-bye. It’s so much easier watching Philly do the work than doing it myself. Readers will emerge from the book hoping to one day share Philly’s experience.
And they will.
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For your convenience, the first box is the print book. The second is the Kindle. Enjoy!