Home > Criticism, Study of the New Testament > What Jesus Demands from the World

What Jesus Demands from the World

  • Title: What Jesus demands from the world
  • Author: John Piper
  • ISBN 10: 1581348452
  • ISBN 13: 9781581348453
  • Published: 2006
  • Pages: 400
  • Format: PDF

The four Gospels are filled with demands straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ. These demands are Jesus’ way of showing us who he is and what he expects of us. They are not the harsh demands of a taskmaster. For example, the demand that we come to Jesus is like the demand of a father to his child in a burning window, “Jump to me!” Or like the demand of a rich, strong, tender, handsome husband to an unfaithful wife, “Come home!” What Jesus demands from the world can be summed up as: “Trust and treasure me above all.” This is good news!

In What Jesus Demands from the World, John Piper has gathered many of Jesus’ demands from the four Gospels. He begins with an introduction that puts the demands in a redemptive-historical context, then concisely examines each demand. The result is an accessible introduction for thoughtful inquirers and new believers, as well as meditative meat for veteran believers who want to know Jesus better.

Instead, I think, Crossway should re-title it: The Demand-Driven Life: Finding a Life of Incredible Joy by Following the Demands of Jesus.

Why? Because living a life of incredible joy is the result of reading this book and following it.

What does it really mean to be a follower of Christ? You would think it would simply mean looking at what Jesus commanded us to do and then doing it. And this is what Piper does in 400 pages: taking what Jesus actually said in the gospels, and then simply but profoundly expounding on why and how Jesus demands that we live it out.

Starting with Jesus’ demand to Nicodemus “You must be born again” and then continuing through loving and abiding in Him, taking up our cross, praying, humility, service, marriage, witness, and others, in fifty short chapters Piper covers all of Christ’s demands upon our lives.

I’ve read hundreds of fine books that gave me valuable insights into the Christian life, but this magnum opus brings it all into one volume. Truly, if you could give a person only one book in his entire life besides the Scriptures, only one book that would tell him all he would need to know to understand what Christianity is and then how to walk with Jesus, this would be the book. Seriously. This book, like no other, lays everything out, in impeccable theology but brought down to a rubber-meets-the-road level. Chapter after chapter will have you saying stuff like, “Well, that’s the best short explanation of what prayer should be in a Christian’s life that I’ve ever read.”

It really is not hype or my typical John Piper fervor to say to you that this book needs to be read by every Christian. Read it as a devotional, use it as a group study, give it to a new Christian, or go through it with your family: Read…read this book.

I think John Piper is one of the uniquely prophetic voices in our day (in the forth telling sense). I like Piper a lot and I believe he has made a number of unique contributions to the modern evangelical church at large. However I’m not what some would call a “Piperite”. I would agree with the man himself who has said on many occasions that if you have read one of his books then you’ve read them all. My favorite book up to this point has been “Brothers, we are not professionals”. In the age of the CEO-styled pastor, this book needed to be written and its message heard. I hope it continues to enjoy a wide readership. Buy it for your pastor and make him read it.

However, Piper has turned a corner in his latest offering that doesn’t smell like warmed-over “Christian Hedonism.” Not that the “hedonism” line of thought doesn’t ring true for me, it does, it only took one book for me to get what he was saying. His latest book, “What Jesus Demands from the World” is a home-run and major work exalting the rightful Lordship of Jesus Christ over all things but especially over His own sheep. This book has a different feel that doesn’t come off novel or “cutting edge.” Could it be due to the fact that Piper is now a well-seasoned pastor with battle scars and deeper life experiences (e.g. cancer)? Whatever the background, I think the message of this book rings true because it drips with the words of the Evangel.

There are fifty chapters which summarize what Piper calls the “demands” of the Gospel. Every chapter forces the reader to come face to face with Jesus’ Lordship and the daily demands of following Christ. The book’s message doesn’t seem like it’s forced into a pre-conceived mission statement but it just flows in thoughtful prose and penetrating exposition of the Gospel. This is Piper at his best and at his most biblical. I greatly appreciate this offering from this immense evangelical leader and hope that more volumes like this one will be forthcoming from his prolific pen.

On a side note, one of the more interesting features of this book is the chapter entitled “A Word to Biblical Scholars (And to those who wonder what they are doing)”. Piper realizes that most of what goes on in the name of “Jesus scholarship” is a large waste of time and resources that has confused the Christian masses and helped very few if any. His thesis is that the most radical Jesus to be found is not one forged in the rallies of progressive revolutionaries or critical patch-works. The most radical Jesus is the one who is encountered in the pages of the Gospel. With this Jesus, there is no room for passing thoughts like “what Jesus means to me” or “most scholars believe”. No, the Jesus of the gospels calls us to embrace Him and bow to His rightful Lordship over all creation because Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”.

Readers of John Piper’s other excellent books (for example, three of his earlier works: Desiring God, Future Grace, and The Pleasures of God) will appreciate the way in which the solid foundation which he has set forth in those prior works has now been applied to the commands which Jesus gives in the four gospels. Having read almost all of John Piper’s dozens of other books over the years, this one now ranks at the very top of my list of “Piper Favorites.” Here we have a pastor who is extremely well-read and who writes from a solid scholarly perspective, and yet who has composed an extremely practical book on the teachings of Jesus as they address the main issues of life.

Piper is a man who knows the meaning of grace, and thus as he expounds on Jesus’ commands (“the demands” as Piper calls them), he does so in such a manner that the beauty of the teachings of Jesus shine forth on every page. This is a book to savor … and one which the reader will likely want to re-read many times due to the comprehensive approach which the author has employed in gathering together everything Jesus taught by way of timeless commands.

The format of this book lends itself to being used as a daily resource for personal growth. Its profound and yet easily understood insights on such everyday realities as prayer, forgiveness, and faith (among 47 other topics) make it relevant to all of life, regardless of one’s background. What could be more important than understanding what Jesus says we are to be doing in our lives? And who can better help us to grasp the rich meaning of what Jesus says, than this wise, humble, and extremely gifted writer — John Piper? This is a must-read book. Get it and let it take you to the heart of Jesus’ message to your life.

A feature of the book which many will appreciate is the way in which Piper has purposely crafted his material into 50 relatively brief chapters, each of which can be read without a big investment of time, and then reflected upon. The writing style is extremely reader-friendly, and the content is superb.

One final bonus is the quality of its binding. By being published as a hardback this is a book which has the potential of becoming a resource for a lifetime of growth. The focus of this book is so relevant to everyday life issues that it is one which the reader will want to keep close at hand for regular use. It really is that good!

Download this book (PDF).

What Jesus Demands from the World Study Guide (PDF).

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