The Incomparable Christ, J. Oswald Sanders
A Worthy Book from an Auckland Author--The Incomparable Christ: The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
The Easter season, highlighted by Resurrection Sunday, offers Christians a wonderful opportunity to contemplate the person and work of Jesus Christ. This year I’ve had the extreme privilege of looking at His birth, death, burial, and resurrection by way of New Zealand author J. Oswald Sanders’ insightful volume, The Incomparable Christ.
Providing a practical look at The One that the Old Testament foretold, The Incomparable Christ gives a faithful account that is corroborated by history and presented in the New Testament to mankind for all of time. As well, this extraordinary book powerfully delivers insights that can enable us to realistically apply the truths that Jesus lived out among men.
Most importantly, the Lord’s earthly mission is explained in unmistakable terms that challenge us with questions designed to penetrate our preconceptions and misconceptions. Sanders increases our understanding and refines our walk as Believers if we are willing to prayerfully give ourselves to the truths he so skillfully examines.
Our pastor frequently reminds us that our Lord is unique by defining the word. Unique means one of a kind, as in there is literally no other like Him, no other with His unparalleled character, none other with His omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent qualities. He is matchless, and Sanders’ book may very well be unrivaled for the average reader who is seeking an analysis of the topic.
Why do I say that, or maybe just as importantly, how can I say that? Is it because I’ve read all the other books that address the person and work of Jesus Christ? Hardly. Many are simply beyond me, and besides that, I’ve not the time for reading, much less studying all of them. I’ve read few compared to the number available.
I depend on those who have made it their life’s purpose to read and confirm the validity of those many books, and then make defensible recommendations about which ones I need to read. Among those, I’ve found Sanders' work to be thorough, readable (with straightforward content and short chapters), and inspiring. It resonates with any heart seeking to know God better.
Creator and King
Sanders' "The Incomparable Christ" is Scripture Based
One of the most compelling features of this book is its many references to Scripture because when reading about why we are Belieivers it is crucial to know whether an author is using Scripture references out of context to try to make a point that Scripture itself does not make.
One way to discern whether and the attempt is valid is to research and find out what the remainder of Scripture has to say on the topic. If the point is valid, Scripture will not contradict it in other passages.
Though it is easy for opposition from within and without to purport contradictions, prayerful study of the issues gives us a clear picture of both what the Word is saying to us and what the spirit is behind those words. The Incomparable Christ is solid in its use of Scripture references.
The second notable feature is subordinate to Scripture, yet the book’s many quotes and poems are important and valuable, particularly because the authors faithfully present Scriptural passages and principles in their work.
Depth of Mercy
Excerpts from The Incomparable Christ
To whet your appetite I offer these lines from Chapter 4’s “The Childhood Of Christ”:
“...the silences of God are as significant as His speech.”
“...a warning not to intrude when God has not spoken.”
“He was neither ascetic nor Stoic.”
“In summer days, like you and me
He played about the door,
Or gathered, when the father toiled,
The shavings from the floor.
Sometimes He lay upon the grass
The same as you and I,
And saw the hawks above Him pass
Like specks against the sky;
Or clinging to the gate, He watched
The stranger passing by.
And when the sun at break of day
Crept in upon His hair
I think it must have left a ray
Of unseen glory there --
A kiss of love on that little brow,
For the thorns that it must wear.”
--A. B. Paine
Before the Throne of God
And here are excerpts from “The Atoning Work Of Christ”, Chapter 23:
"The words of J. S. Stewart find the fullest support in Scripture. 'Not only had Christ by dying disclosed the sinner’s guilt, not only had He revealed the Father’s love: He had actually taken the sinner’s place. And this meant, since God was in Christ, that God had taken that place. When destruction and death were rushing up to claim the sinner as their prey, Christ had stepped in and accepted the full weight of their inevitable doom in His body and soul.'”
"The Cross is not a compromise but a substitution, not a cancellation but a satisfaction, not a wiping off but a wiping out in blood, and agony and death. Thus mercy does not cheat justice.”
“This hath He done, and shall we not adore Him?
This shall He do, and can we still despair?
Come, let us quickly fling ourselves before Him,
Cast at His feet the burthen of our care.”
--F. W. H. Meyers
Complete in Thee
The book begins its closing with sure evidence of Jesus’ resurrection and His succeeding ministry of forty days. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a high priest, Who is set on the right hand of the majesty in the heavens (Hebrews 8:1).”
In writing The Incomparable Christ J. Oswald Sanders outlined the earthly life of God’s Son to show that Jesus is very God Himself, Lover of our needy souls. While this work could be considered esoteric, it is far from it.
This book is for everyone whose heart seeks God, for any who would seek to know His love better than they ever thought possible and to intensify their relationship with Him through the power of His Spirit.
In Jesus’ own words, “I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The process of learning to live by the theme “according to His Word” has been the great joy and peace of my life.
I am thankful for faithful men and women who carefully present the foundational truths of God’s Word in such a way that I am more able to digest them as food and drink for more abundant life. J. Oswald Chambers' work has been a tremendous help.
Bow the Knee
Reading to Help You on Your Journey
Find more book reviews on this topic:
• Of Whom the World was not Worthy ...difficult questions about God and faith are asked. The honesty with which this book faces truth is unusual and gripping. To understand that Jozeka lived out these events so recently is a chilling realization, then to read how she survived is to...
• Mountain Breezes from Amy Carmichael is a precious anthology of poems that, besides being beautiful in their own right, are useful to help Christians in their meditation and prayer times. It is a valuable volume for Believers.