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Jesus Behaving Badly: The Puzzling Paradoxes of the Man from Galilee

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Jesus Behaving Badly explores the apparent contradictions in the life of Jesus. How can it be that some people view Jesus as a revolutionary and others view Him as a pacifist? Some people view Him as angry and others view him as loving. Some people consider Jesus an environmentalist and other claim He’s an earth scorcher. Some see Jesus through the lens of hellfire preacher and other see a gentle shepherd. Legalist or grace filled, sexist or egalitarian, and on and on.

Some people look at one set of Bible passages and come to one conclusion and others gravitate to a different set of Bible passages and come to different conclusions. Mark Strauss has done a masterful job of looking at Jesus from all sides. For each pair of apparent contradictions, he builds a case for one side and then he turns around and lays out a convincing case for the other side. Then, he masterfully paints the whole picture in a way that gives you a new perspective and appreciation for the complexities of Jesus. He pulls in extra-biblical details to help explain things like the withering fig tree Jesus cursed or the cultural and political viewpoints of the time. The author’s work relies on historical documents of the New Testament era, but his text is story-like and very readable to non-academic folks.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book and as soon as I finished I was tempted to start over, but I’ll come back to this one again in due time.


A Couple Brief Quotes for You


“Legalism is also claiming God won’t love you unless you act a certain way and that your value to God, and even your salvation, depends on living by these rules.”

— Mark L. Strauss, Jesus Behaving Badly


“Jesus raises the bar in the Sermon on the Mount. He says that anger is equivalent to murder and that lust is equivalent to adultery (Mt 5:21-30). He is pushing beyond mere human effort to a true heart of obedience arising from the internal transformation—the new heart—provided by the Holy Spirit.”

— Mark L. Strauss, Jesus Behaving Badly


Here’s a short, tweetable quote you might want to share:


Jesus Behaving Badly

The Puzzling Paradoxes of the Man from Galilee

Mark L. Strauss


225 pages



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