Review by Demetrius Rogers
Rejoicing in Christ
By Michael Reeves
IVP Academic, 2015
$17.00 | 137 pp.
As many of us know, Christian ministry should be firmly centered on the gospel. The power of God is found in the gospel. Yet, sometimes in our effort to be gospel-centered, “the gospel” can take on a life of its own. Sometimes if we’re not careful “the gospel” can become an abstract idea. Simply put, the gospel can be explained as good news. But, still, it’s one step removed from the substance.
This is where Michael Reeves’s fantastic little book, Rejoicing in Christ, comes into play. Reeves does a great job of actualizing for his reader the essence of the gospel. He says, “Jesus didn’t just bring us the good news. He is the good news.” He’s not just a delivery boy. He is the delivery. The center of Christianity, he continues, “is not an idea, a system, or a thing; it’s not even ‘the gospel’ as such. It is Jesus Christ.”
Sometimes the person of Christ can get lost in the shuffle. And when he does, it’s books like these that can recalibrate our vision of the Savior. This is a beautiful primer on Christology. The word “rejoicing” is aptly nestled within its title, because that is exactly what the reader will be doing as he or she reads its pages.
At just over 120 pages, this book packs a punch. It does not contain extraneous detail. It’s fairly brief. However, the amount of pith gives the work extraordinary depth. It seems to be crafted somewhat like a meditative work. It has a devotional quality to it, replete with theological reflection, historical sketches, and illustrations.
Reeves’ style shines through on every page. He approached the book as a theologian, framed it as an historian, but delivered it like a poet. Much of his prose contains fresh images, language, cadence, and rhythm. He invested both his heart and mind into this work. His writing style was colloquial and his theological insights stunning.
From a reader’s point of view, it did take a while for the work to come together. The beginning of his discussion felt a bit disjointed. About midway through, however, the book found its stride, and never let up from there. This is one of those books worth rereading on a regular basis. It will enhance any Christian’s appreciation for the Savior.
The book is accessible, yet it remained intelligible. The work is theologically tantalizing and it will certainly leave the reader hungry for a deeper understanding of Jesus. Gospel-centered ministry never looked so good. A highly recommended read.
Demetrius Rogers (Th.M.) currently serves as the Director of Admissions and as an Online Instructor at Western Seminary.