Jimmy Agan's Like the One Who Serves: The Imitation of Christ in the Gospel of Luke is about more than imitation. This book explores how devotion to Christ is a consequence of his grace toward us, and the whole work resonates with the sweetness and clarity of one who himself serves Christ in the grateful radiance of the gospel profoundly grasped.
Some books are eloquent, some are passionate, and some are wise. This book is all three. It makes a convincing case for deep reflection on Jesus example, leading to sustained effort to be like him. Agan flags the dangers of the imitation-of-Christ project. But he maps us past the risks with Scripture as GPS and conformity to Christ as goal. Engrossing and stirring, this is the finest succinct statement on the subject in recent times.
Mention the call to be more like Christ, and questions instantly abound. All serious believers instinctively think the task is impossible, and many evangelicals wonder whether it even is something were supposed to do. Yet at the same time, we also sense that somehow, the imitation of Christ is part and parcel of what it means to be a faithful Christian. How do we handle these questions, these competing attitudes? Even more important, how do we go about a task as enormous as being like Christ? In this wonderful little book, Jimmy Agan unpacks these questions and others like them through a careful, patient reading of Lukes Gospel, showing us clearly in what ways Jesus is unique as the Divine Son--and thus NOT a pattern for us to imitate--and in what ways he is fully human--and thus our perfect example of human life as God meant it to be. Agans pastoral wisdom, sympathy for the struggles we face as Christians, and conversational writing style bring the fruit of his scholarship on Luke to a level any serious Christian can understand. I recommend this book most highly!
Imitation of Christ a topic that is of profound importance, but has nonetheless been wrought by theological questions among well-intentioned scholars, is here presented in a way that is both deeply rooted in the pages of the New Testament, and yet also eminently accessible to the contemporary reader. This is the work of a scholar who is also a convinced and gifted communicator.
Is it appropriate for Christians to imitate Christ, or does this undermine the uniqueness of Christs work? Dr. Agan addresses this important question from the Gospel of Luke by providing biblical rationale and interpretive guidelines for imitating Christ in four key respects. Here is a work of applied theology that will encourage you to follow more closely in the footsteps of our Lord, while continually relying on his grace in the gospel.
This book is a gift to me as a pastor, father, husband, professor, communitarian and friend! Jimmy's work is a manual for training Christians to imitate Christ with a Gospel-centered focus and a Spiritually joyful heart. No one can read this book and fail to conclude that Christ's sacrifice is the motivation for following him and the Father's love is the power to do it. With the Gospel so clearly unveiled in every chapter, one who follows this guide will inevitably conclude that because the yoke belongs to Jesus, it is easy and his burden is light.
As Christians, we are called to imitate Jesus which we cannot do in our own strength; however, Jesus is not only a model, he is the source that enables us to be like him. C.D. Jimmy Agan has written a excellent commentary on the Gospel According to Luke that is incased with the challenge to imitate Jesus, but not in the manner as those who only see Jesus as a role model nor those who try to see everything being all of grace to an extreme. Agan has placed this topic of servant example,(imitate) around Luke 6:40, the disciple is to be like his teacher. In the historically redemptive context. It becomes clear by Jesus saving work on our behalf, he enables us to be like him. Agan has given us a great resource for preaching and teaching, and the lay person will also benefit from his writing. I was personally humbled and challenged as I read the manuscript. I challenge each preacher to consider reading this commentary and then committing to using it to teach the Gospel according to Luke. This commentary will be a tremendous alternative to so much superficiality and triviality associated with being a kingdom disciple. But if you do the above, be forewarned. This is a dangerous commentary because it reminds us from beginning to end, to be a Christian requires being like Jesus.