Book Review: Jesus Continued... by J.D. Greear
Jesus Continued...: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You
by J.D. Greear
A recommended resource for "You Are... a series in Christian Basics"
Review by Mark Roelofs
Have you ever wondered about who the Holy Spirit is, or what His role is in your life as a believer? Or perhaps you’ve wondered why some in evangelical circles seem to place too much emphasis on the Holy Spirit and others hardly acknowledge Him at all. In “Jesus, Continued…,” pastor and author J.D. Greear addresses these questions as he explains why the Spirit inside you is better than Jesus beside you.
In the New Testament book of John, Jesus delivers some puzzling news to His disciples – that He will be leaving them. He continues by telling them that it is better for them that He goes away, because He will send the Holy Spirit – the third member of the Trinity - to live inside them. This is better for them than if He would stay. How could this be?
Ultimately, Greear concludes that it was better for the disciples. The Holy Spirit fell on them in power on the day of Pentecost and empowered them to turn the world upside down. It is better for us, also. The Holy Spirit lives inside each believer – from Pentecost to the present - and empowers the children of God to be transformed and to live on mission for the kingdom of God.
Greear emphasizes that believers need to keep in mind that the gospel in the Word of God and the Spirit of God always go together. In what I believe is the paragraph that best summarizes the whole book, Greear states, “Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to serve the purposes of the gospel. The Holy Spirit first enables us to believe the gospel and then continually re-opens our eyes to its beauties. He takes up residence in us when we first believe it, and he fills us again as we re-believe it. He empowers us to carry that gospel throughout the whole world. The Holy Spirit is given in the gospel, for the purposes of the gospel. Thus, those who want more of the Holy Spirit’s presence should press more deeply into the gospel; those who want to know the gospel more deeply should seek the help of the Holy Spirit; and we should expect those most filled with the Spirit to be the ones most passionate about the spread of the gospel. The gospel begins with our brokenness and inability, not our power and potential (pg. 216-217).”
“Jesus, Continued…” is very biblical, and it is also very balanced. Greear supports his beliefs about the Holy Spirit well through his exposition of Scripture, and he reiterates over and over again that every conclusion that we make about the Spirit’s work in our lives be tested by the Word of God.
The book is also very practical. I deeply appreciated the section on how believers experience the Holy Spirit in the gospel, in the Word of God, in our giftings, in the church, in our spirit, and in our circumstances. These are issues that we believers are confronted with consistently throughout our lives.
The part of the book that impacted me the most was the last chapter, where Greear points out how the Holy Spirit works in and through our weaknesses. He says, “Your strength is likely your greatest impediment. So rejoice when God makes you weak. He does so in order that you can become strong in his Spirit. Sometimes he puts you flat on your back so you will finally be looking in the right direction (pg. 221).” We all experience weakness in one way or another. I praise the Lord for this truth!
If you are looking for a biblical, practical, easy-to-understand primer on the Holy Spirit, I would highly recommend “Jesus, Continued…” I was encouraged and strengthened and spurred on and changed as I read this book, and I believe you will be, too!