Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
FM 10:1 (Fall 1992) p. 102
Books By The Faculty
Reflections on the Temptations of Jesus by James H. Blackmore. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992. 215 pp., $14.95.
Only occasionally does a book come along that I am compelled to “read, mark, and inwardly digest” as the Book of Common Prayer says of the Scripture. I found James Blackmore’s most recent book just that. The reason this is so is that the New Testament story of the life of Jesus is the basic material of the book. Forty events from the life of Jesus in “the days of his flesh” are chosen as specific illustrations that Jesus endured and conquered. He demonstrates the truth of Luke 4:13 after the account of the devil’s temptations of Jesus in the wilderness: “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” Blackmore records at least forty of these “opportune times” and how Jesus continued to contend with the Tempter.
The format of the book is very unusual. It is written as prayers or conversations of the author with Jesus himself. The whole book is a dialogue with the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, the book invites the reader to participate in the dialogue, making it essentially a trialogue—the author, the reader, and the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Occasionally, the author turns aside from the conversation with Jesus to give technical background material from his exceptionally wide and deep knowledge of the Old Testament, the life situation of Judaism at the time of Jesus, and the customs that are implicit in the Biblical record. The reader will be updated with information such as I did not know and found myself grateful to learn. The author’s knowledge of the extrabiblical literature is comprehensive and informs the reader of the context as well as the text of materials he is citing.
However, “turnings aside” do not detract from the flow of the contemplative conversation with Jesus. Blackmore demonstrates that in more than a familiar quoting of Hebrews 5: 14–16, specific instances in abundance are given of forty events in which Jesus was “in every respect tempted as we are, yet without sin.” His kinship with us in temptation is documented with precision on every turn of the page.
This book can be effectively used by a family as a devotional guide, by an individual as a daily prayer guide, or as a college or seminary class in New Testament to bring the technical study of the Scripture into concrete daily spiritual enquiry answering the question: “What’s this study got to do with me and mine?”
Wayne E. Oates
Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus,
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