JohnSWilson3 Blog

Book Review of “Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ.”
June 12, 2010, 2:30 pm
Filed under: 2A - Book Reviews

“Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ” has to be the most important Christian work ever written! Every believer, every church, no matter the denomination or flavor should read this wonderful exposition of our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In fact for those who do not know the Lord this one book will help to open their eyes to the wonder of Jesus from the Scriptures without all of the periphery or blinders that often times the church can put in front of those who are seeking Christ. It is a marvelous work that explodes Jesus Christ to the forefront of the eyes of His people and this world. It truly is a book that is meant to do what it says – restore the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ!

I have read all of Frank Viola’s ReChurch book series on restoring the supremancy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ into the body of Christ in an organic way. By far this has to be the most concise and straightforward work that Frank has done alongside Leonard Sweet! I have only read some of Sweet’s work, mainly as I have been learning about and participating in organic church life this past year. I do have “So Beautiful” and will get to it soon!

I love what Frank and Leonard have done in “Jesus Manifesto.” The body of Christ is meant to be Jesus manifestos…manifesting Jesus Christ to one another and the world! I like how they opened up Colossians and made it personal to me and every believer and church in the body of Christ regardless of being an organizational (denominational/nondenominational) or organic church. As I scanned the major sections of the book I knew I was going to be in for a pleasant read! Frank and Viola while they do use some of the complex jargon found by those who have a knowledgeable understanding of the Greek and Hebrew of the Scriptures, as would be necessary for a church planter, make a point to help each member of the body of Christ to put their arms around their wonderful Lord Jesus in the process of proclaiming Jesus the Christ. Frank and Sweet bring out the best of many of the church writers of history who have made an attempt at doing the same thing for the body of Christ, so in that light this book attempts to do the same thing for this generation. Perhaps the writer that comes the closest to this level of writing about our Lord Jesus is T. Austin Sparks in his wonderful work – The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because I have read all of Frank’s work I can see some of his thought in the text of this book. But in the case of “Jesus Manifesto” it is put in a more succinct form that gets to the gist of all of his other works. Perhaps the same would be said also of Leonard’s work as well. If you enjoy reading Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet then I think you will want this one book to see the fruition of all of their previous work. If you are not a reader of either then this one book will give you a glimpse at the volume of work they have done in the past and hopefully lead you on the road to reading more of their work and the wonderful job they have done at expounding the glorious mystery of Jesus Christ and His Bride!

What follows is a chapter by chapter review of this wonderful book!

Chapter 1- “The Occupation of All Things” seems to be the book of Hebrews (how can you discuss the superiority of Jesus without Hebrews!) in ancillary form and what a wonderful job they did in showing the superiority of Jesus Christ to all things!

Chapter 2 – “A Bottle in the Ocean” gives a wonderful description of the letter to the Colossians and the “peerless worth” of Jesus Christ.

Chapter 3 – “If God Wrote Your Biography” is by far one of the best chapters of the book. This one chapter is worth the entire book, it is for me the reason for reading the book, it is I think, the intent of the authors for every believer to see that “If God were to write your biography, it would be Jesus Christ.” I can’t wait to have our organic church group to read this together in our face-to-face community and see the riches of Jesus Christ in all of His glory made manifest in our midst!

Chapter 4 – “A Violin Called Messiah” is one of the major ways Frank and Leonard help to use imagery to see our Lord in all of His glory, they are masters of imagery! Because of me being a visual learner, it obviously had a big impact with me! May it be that we would all realize that “God doesn’t wait for us to come to Him. God comes to us in Jesus, making Himself at home with us.” They went to great detail to show the difference between imitation and implantation and how implantation is the method of our Lord and reason for the incarnation of Jesus Christ – “Our life is Christ.”

Chapter 5 – “A Ditch on Either Side” should prove to bring crisis to every believer and church as we tend to be on either one side or the other when it comes to “the road to truth.” This one chapter will hopefully give every believer and church a new paradigm of our understanding of what Christianity is and is not.

Chapter 6 – “His Face or Your Face?” lends itself as a precursor to the next chapter, Chapter 7 – “A Collision of Two Empires.” Too often in the church, no matter which type we come from, we drift towards legalism and programs and causes versus grace and relationship which are found in our Lord. We put God in a box of our expectations. In the Scriptures we find that we are to look at the Lord and His kingdom differently. Too often we focus more on the fruit and judge one another by our fruit instead of lifting up Christ and living by His life allowing the fruit to do what fruit always do, produce organically. We are not very patient.

Chapter 8 – “The Forgotten Tree” brings to the plate the the importance of living by the Tree of Life versus the works associated with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We too often try to find God or find ourselves through the tree of knowledge of good and evil versus the Tree of Life who is God and our life.

I love Chapter 9 – “The House of Figs” because this is to some degree a rewriting of one of Frank’s best little known works – “Bethany: The Lord’s Desire for His Church.” I love the imagery of Bethany portrayed in the Scriptures and the fact that Jesus is looking for a home to lay His head in every home of our planet. Will He find a place of rest in us and in our homes, in our churches? “Jesus Christ cannot be separated from His church. While Jesus is distinct from His Bride, He is not separate from her. She is, in fact, His very own body in the earth…God in Christ is only known fully in and through His church.” How important to be able to function in the body of Christ and not be just a spectator. Jesus is the Head and Master of His church, if we dethrone Him by our selfishness, our dominance, our structure and programming, etc, then he will look for another church who will. This also would be another great chapter that a church could use to read together and led Jesus do His wonderful work of building His body together.

Chapter 10 – “Who Is This Lord of Yours?” being the last chapter it is a trumpet call to recognize the nature of the Trinity as the model for our community and to come and behold our Lord Jesus! Many books help us see this wonderful nature of the dance of the Trinity as a reflection of our life together in community, but Frank and Leonard do a great job of putting together in a nice succinct way.

The “Afterword” provides each reader a wonderful time of personal reflection of the book of Colossians from the perspective of our Lord writing it personally to us and to our churches.

The authors provide a great amount of notes at the end for those who want to do more research into the details of what is provided in “Jesus Manifesto.” I encourage every reader to read some of Frank and Leonard’s other works!

Hopefully this little powerhouse of a book will bring all of God’s people both individually and His Bride together no matter our differing opinions so that we may again read the Scriptures together, sing songs together, share intimately with one another in face-to-face community in pursuit of knowing Christ together and learn to love our Lord and one another so profoundly that the world will see “how they love one another” and the Jesus manifested from the Scriptures!


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