J. V. Fesko
Reviewed by: Shane Bennett
Date posted: 06/11/2017
Who Is Jesus? Knowing Christ through His “I Am” Sayings, by J. V. Fesko. Reformation Heritage Books, 2016. Paperback, 112 pages, list price $10.00. Reviewed by OP pastor Shane Bennett.
Great things often come in small packages. The same could be said of John Fesko’s Who Is Jesus? Though it is a brief ninety-three pages, the content is highly valuable and useful for both pastors and laymen. In Who Is Jesus? Fesko begins and ends by focusing on the title’s question. By examining the seven “I am” statements of Jesus found in the gospel of John and developing the Old Testament context and allusions surrounding them (devoting a chapter to each saying), Fesko unfolds, not who we might imagine Jesus to be, but who Jesus himself claims to be. Neither the believer nor the unbeliever can afford to ignore Jesus’ claims, for in his “I am” statements we are confronted with a man who is either a lunatic, a liar, or God in the flesh.
This book is useful to pastors for several reasons. First, it develops an Old Testament context that often enriches and enlivens the text of John’s gospel. Jesus did not live in a vacuum, but came to minister to people with an Old Testament context. That context makes sense of who Jesus is, and Fesko labors to unfold it.
Second, each chapter ends helpfully with application. Sometimes it is as simple as “Will you believe in Jesus?” or “Pray therefore for your shepherds’ focusing our attention on the implication of Jesus’ words for our own lives.”
Third, it has merit as an evangelistic tool. Everyone, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has some idea of who Jesus is, but not everyone has engaged Jesus’ claims that call us to worship him as the God-man. This book would be easy to convert into a series of outreach lectures.
Finally, this book is useful to the layman since it addresses the doubts that often plague Christians. Is Jesus really God in the flesh? Is he just a moral teacher? How do I demonstrate his deity? Fesko answers these questions and strengthens our faith in our Savior, who is the great “I am,” the bread of life, the light of the world, the true vine, the resurrection and the life—in short, God in the flesh and the Savior of men.
Fesko reminds us that we cannot accept Jesus as simply a teacher of morality. He is either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord. Both the gospel of John and this book make it clear: he is Lord, and we must worship the living God made flesh. I highly recommend this book.