Title: “Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ”
Author: John Piper
Release Date: June 4, 2004 (revised ed.)
Purchase: Amazon.com, WTS Books
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him'” (John 14:6-7). It is this truth that makes this book so valuable. “Whoever has seen [Jesus] has seen the Father” (John 14:9). This book is dedicated to seeing the second person of the Trinity. And as John Piper says in his introduction, his goal is to show us Christ such that when we see His beauty and glory on full display, we desire Him and savor Him. The highlight of this book is that Piper does that not with eloquence or with logic, but with a simple presentation of Scripture. (Where else would we go to find out more about the Christ?)
There are 13 chapters to the book, each centered around a different aspect of Jesus, displaying His glory in different ways. Each chapter is full of Scripture, and that’s what I love about this book. It’s not an intensely theological tome. But it is intensely biblical. It doesn’t seek to explain complex passages of Scripture, or make in-depth expositions, it takes simple truths about Christ and presents them to us. To me the most notable chapters were the one about Jesus as both lion and lamb, and why He doesn’t immediately destroy Satan. Though all the chapters were quite good, for me these two were exceptionally helpful in how Piper showed how these two topics glorify Christ. He sets forth passages and explains that the diversity in Jesus’ lionlike and lamblike character is precisely what makes Him glorious, and precisely what makes us love Him. In similar fashion, he shows that our learning to savor Jesus more than sin is more glorifying to God than if He were to simply destroy the devil right now.
In addition to the clear reliance on Scripture as the basis for the book, the other thing I appreciate most is that each chapter ends with a short prayer. From the way they’re written, I can tell that Pastor Piper understands that we are all too able to read these chapters without taking time to reflect on them in reverence and joy. These prayers helped me to refocus on what was written, and to ask the Holy Spirit to write these truths on my heart so that I might indeed see and savor Jesus Christ.
It’s a small, short book–a much faster and easier read than Desiring God, but still worth it. Short enough that you could finish it in a day, but I would recommend that you don’t. Take a few days to read through it slowly and give it some thought. How do you see Jesus? Who do you say He is? Who do the Scriptures say He is? The aim of this book is to allow the Bible to answer these questions, and I think it accomplishes that goal quite well. This isn’t the definitive work on the person of Jesus, not by any means. But if you feel lacking in your love for the Lord, or if you want to love the Lord more, this book should be a great help. There is no other way to love and savor God than to see Him in all His glory. I am thankful for John Piper’s understanding of that, and for this book!
(This book was provided free for review by Crossway, but the opinions contained herein are solely my own.)