Brian McLaren writes about Jesus’ message from the perspective of its original hearers and then explains what that means for us in the 21st century. I particularly enjoy the way he writes about the four political groups that were around in Jesus’ day and how their ideas are still present today. The Zealots believed in armed revolt. The Herodians just wanted a peaceful life so cooperated with the Romans. The Essenes were pacifist who left the corrupt religious and political systems and created an alternative society in the desert. The Pharisees believed God would liberate them from the Romans if the Jews became purer and more righteous. Jesus’ message disappointed all four groups and continues to do so today. His message is like yeast in bread dough or a seed growing in the dark. They expand silently and effectively without a showy display.
I did find it a little odd that McLaren writes as if he is presenting new material about Jesus whereas I personally found that he was simply adding further insights to things I already knew. Nevertheless these insights were valuable and beneficial.