For much of Christian history, greater focus has been paid to Jesus' death than to his three years of ministry, and his crucifixion has often been understood primarily as a means to salvation in heaven. But retired pastor Tim Lehman contends that we've drastically missed the point by not looking closely at and learning from Jesus' words and actions before his death. As a result, we lose out on the joy and freedom of living fully as his disciples and experiencing salvation already in this life on earth.
In this broad study of Matthew's Gospel, Lehman challenges readers to view Jesus' death in light of his life. He urges us not just to believe in Jesus, but to believe Jesus--to take seriously all that he taught and how he lived. As Lehman leads readers along a carefully laid path, Christians and non-Christians alike will have to rethink long-held assumptions: the place of violence in the Christian life; the givenness of division in our modern world; the meaning of "atonement," "salvation," and "the kingdom of heaven"; and more. But along the way, we are sure to learn, grow, and, hopefully, come to know more deeply God's unconditional love for all.