The Jesus Who Surprises: Opening Our Eyes to His Presence in All of Life and Scripture by Dee Brestin (Waterbrook/Multnomah; 2019)
This is the newest book from author and Bible study writer Dee Brestin. Brestin is most known for excellent books she has written for women like The Friendships of Women, and He Calls You Beautiful. I, however, feel that Brestin’s newest book is not directed solely at women. The book briefly touches on the scene in Luke’s Gospel when the resurrected Jesus visited with two believers who were walking along the Emmaus Road, and Jesus expounded on the Old Testament and how it was all about Him. The Gospel puts it as “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27).” From there, Brestin proceeds to give pithy studies on numerous Old Testament passages by dividing the book into three sections: The Books of Moses, The Psalms, and The Prophets.
Artfully weaving in experiences from her own life — which has had its share of heartache and trial — the author shows how the selected passages in the OT all point to Jesus, and how He came to rescue us and love us. In my opinion, besides the occasional sermons on the “Sunday School” parts of the OT (like David and Goliath; Joshua and Jericho; Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; etc.), we believers really miss out on all of the wisdom and insights available by studying the OT. By using it to analyze and interpret the New Testament, we can apply all of that to our lives today. And Brestin handles this job brilliantly.
Brestin is an excellent writer, and I was totally engaged (again, as a male) with the gold and silver she was able to mine out to give selected OT stories and books more relevance. This tactic gives us an even fuller picture of God than can be received by only studying the New Testament.
Speaking of studying, the book is well-designed to serve as a book study for either a group or individuals. The study guides come at the end of each chapter, and all of the same elements. There is a weekly “God Hunt,” as Brestin calls it, where readers are challenged to note and discuss how the presence and love of God are around us every day — but we might need to “hunt” for them. Then there are five daily sets of questions and “thoughts to consider” to be discussed at each meeting, and a suggested prayer to end each session.
To top this off, Brestin has put together free teaching videos on her website (www.deebrestin.com) that go specifically with this book, as well as pointing readers to online sermons from the likes of Tim Keller, Michael Reeves, and Eugene Peterson. Plus, there is a facilitator guide for those who are leading a group study.
Brestin admirably accomplishes her goal in this book, as stated in the subtitle: “Opening our eyes to [Jesus} His presence in all of life and Scripture.” I highly recommend this book to everyone!
This book was provided to me by the publisher Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.