It has taken me far too long to read this book. The problem was I had What Jesus Demands From the World by John Piper at home, not at the office. And I read in my free time. It is a book well worth reading, and recommending.
Piper narrows his focus on what Jesus says as recorded in the Gospels. At times this is helpful, and at other times it is not so helpful. One instance is his discussion of divorce and remarriage, which by virtue of his method excludes Jesus’ teaching through Paul. Piper ends up with what to me is a new spin on Jesus’ teaching on divorce and remarriage (others, like Sinclair Ferguson, would also disagree with him but still recommend the book, so I’m not alone in this). I think the question of divorce and remarriage justifies its own post. Suffice it to say, I don’t buy his argument on exegetical and theological grounds. Like the Bereans, we are to measure all things by the Word of God. Piper isn’t perfect, but this disagreement does not cut to the core of the Gospel so we can agree to disagree.
One thing I found interesting was this: “Jesus knew and taught that between his first and second coming to earth there would be a lapse of time. For example, Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants is a story of what will happen between his first and second coming.” I agree that Jesus knew and taught this. I disagree that this was the point of the parable in Luke 20. The parable talks about the wicked tenants killing the heir in an attempt to gain the vineyard (vs. 14). Seems to point to the crucifixion of Jesus, and the impending destruction of Jerusalem (vs .16) which occurred in AD 70. So, the very long time in verse 9 is the intertestamental period, not the period between the first and second coming. This is uncharacteristic for John Piper, who usually shows himself a worker well approved.
This is not enough to undermine the great good that is found in this book. And, contrary to one reviewer’s point of view, there is lots of grace to be found in this book. There is grace to pardon and purify talked about often in this book. It is a book for those wanting to better understand discipleship, which is sorely needed in our day.