The Genius of Jesus - Book Review & Personal Thoughts

Erwin McManus changed my view ON SO MANY perspectives in Christianity with his talks on YouTube that I JUST HAD to buy his book & I was not disappointed! 

Let's get right into it: 

The Angle of the Book

I love the angle of the book of putting the things that Jesus did into a completely new and different light. 

I'm going to be very open here... 

I still struggle to find my way to COMPLETELY surrender to Jesus & Christianity even though there is a voice inside of me that is dragging me in that direction I still have quite a bit of resistance to overcome - therefore I'm thirsty for more information about everything regarding the topic.

That is why the angle of GENIUS is simply perfect for me - because Erwin shows you that regardless if you believe that he was the Son of God or not how absolutely BIRLIANT Jesus was!

So regardless of your belief this book will definitely inspire you to analyze Jesus more & also be more like him.

It is a pretty unique angle & super compelling for anyone who simply wants to understand Jesus better.

The Genius of Empathy 

I skipped over the first chapters of "Genius" & "Prodigy" which provide more of a contextual setup to understand the concepts of genius better.

In this chapter, Erwin talks about the incredible genius behind empathy and why IT IS NOT a weak character trait. 

He shows perfectly clearly why empathy is the highest form of intelligence and awareness & it is always the best choice to make. 

I love how he connects empathy with compassion & action! 

My favorite quote from this chapter: 

Empathy is driven not by a need to be understood, but by the power of understanding. Empathy is
about recognizing what others need in that moment, and having both the wisdom and courage to bring it. 

(Erwin McManus - The Genius of Jesus) 

The Genius of Power 

Here Erwin describes how freedom and true power can't be taken away from you even in extreme situations. 

The concept of Weak, Force, and Power has been a topic that is going around in my head nearly EVERY day. So understanding that JESUS himself was the person who redefined what power means - is very inspiring for me & makes me realize that all this time when I wanted to achieve the state of Power - I was actually trying to become more like Jesus... 

Pretty awesome! 

He also gave me more clarity on the section of Matthew 5:38-48 where Jesus says the famous quote:

If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

I have wrestled A LOT with this section of the bible in my life! I always thought why would Jesus not defend what's right? 

It just did not enter my head...

The new perspective that Erwin is showing me is helping A LOT.

Just to understand that the Jews (so his audience) were held in captivity by the Romans - hit & humiliated regularly!!! 

Suddenly the quote makes so much more sense.

➡️ It's a way for a "slave" to keep his freedom!!!

You can't always choose your surroundings but you can choose if they are going to crush your soul or not. 

Keeping your freedom is essentially keeping your soul & inner light ALIVE! 

My favorite quote from this chapter: 

Jesus's words are not a call for passivity, or even pacifism. In fact, when we understand the context, Jesus is pointing very specifically to strategies prepared for those who choose to war against injustice. If you have the power to change the world for the better, do it. If you are powerless to do anything, Jesus hows you how to regain your power. 

(Erwin McManus - The Genius of Jesus)

Instead of resisting it, you are ASKING FOR MORE! 

So instead of one hitting back - you are willing to take another bonus one - that is STRENGTH & freedom of choice!

It is something your captivator can't take away from you. 

Seeing such power & freedom and strength of mind and soul is even for the most forceful people on the planet hard to understand and simply demands respect. 

The Genius of Grace 

My favorite quote from this chapter: 

There are moments in life that make allowances for the worst of us. Maybe you've lost your job and financial security, and you snap at a friend who doesn't know what's going on. Maybe you shut down emotionally because someone broke your heart. We all face moments like this, when our reactions are forgivable once the context is understood. Yet perhaps it is only grace when it is under fire. 

(Erwin McManus - The Genius of Jesus)

Every single day we wake up and get to try again - even though we failed & sinned yesterday. 

God is merciful & full of grace. 

 It is so beautiful to see & understand that when we suffer - we get to chance to get closer to him & his grace. 

"Yet perhaps it is only grace when it is under fire."

A beautiful chapter to read :) 

The Genius of the Good 

Jesus teaches us to choose between the right and the good - it sounds so weird...

Aren't those two things the same but THEY ARE NOT!

If you try to do the right thing all the time (for example following the law) - it does NOT mean you do the greatest good for the world all the time.

Doing the right thing all the time paralyzes you into thinking you can't do any wrong. But it is about doing as much good as possible! 

Pretty profound to realize there are ENDLESS ways of doing good things!!!!

I just have to drop another quote here - it is just too good: 

The best way to stop destructive behavior is to do good.

(Erwin McManus - The Genius of Jesus)

So simple but yet so powerful

The Genius of The True

My favorite quote from this chapter:

If you are searching for truth, your search begins with becoming a person of truth. The quest for truth must always begin with your inner world.

(Erwin McManus - The Genius of Jesus)

I've been truth-seeking for a long time that is why this chapter hit deeeeeep!!!

To see the truth outside I will need to become a true person

Erwin explains that Jesus made truth VERY personal and related to being a true person.

Jesus said that HE IS TRUTH

That is as personal as it gets... He can be trusted so therefore he is true & truth at the same time.

(Why can he be trusted? He lived a sinless life & he is connected to God & God is just and can be trusted - therefore God is truth!)

I love the idea that if you are not true to yourself - you simply CANNOT see the truth on the outside. 

It makes sense - if you lie to yourself & others all the time - you will project that people are like you & you will live where you can't trust anybody! 

If on the other hand, you are truthful to yourself and others - you restore the trust in the good & the true and you will live in a world filled with truth. 

It is kind of obvious now - but it is sooooo profound.

Another thing I will have to process still is that the truth that Jesus is teaching is NOT objective but transformative

This means if you understood something but it hasn't really changed you & made you more truthful yourself it was worthless. 

Meaning if I would TRULY understand & see that our God is a loving God that should transform me into being a more loving person - if it does not transform me I HAVE NOT seen the truth or let the truth enter my self completely. 

I love that chapter because it helps me adjust my compass to find a more profound truth. 

The Genius of Beautiful 

How can you take the world's greatest instrument of death {the cross} and forever transform it into the greatest symbol of life? 

(Erwin McManus - The Genius of Jesus)

Erwin draws an amazing connection of beauty being defined by tragedy... 

The most beautiful things can end in the most tragic ways - life & death. 

I always understood that the ups in life are only so nice because of the downs - just ups would be nothing short of BORING but seeing the dance of life in this perspective helps me even more understand it all & embrace it. 

Tragedies are not the end though - God can (and always does) turn tragedies into something beautiful again - fixing broken people into a person that is even more beautiful than before. 

God will make everything beautiful in its time...

Final Words 

Do I recommend reading this book? 

If you are looking to dive deeper into Jesus - this book is awesome

It lets you understand his teachings on another level, another perspective. 

A perspective that you won't find in many other places - that is what is the Genius of Erwin himself - he knows how to connect to you & shed light on things you probably have not thought about before.

Super glad my friend Alex recommended Erwin to me & so I want to recommend Erwin to you - he is nothing short but a GREAT starting point for people looking to dive deeper into Christianity. 

I HAVE to mention his AMAZING speeches on YouTube - they were the reason why I bought this book in the first place. 

Goosebumps and tears in my eyes - he hits depths in my soul & you just have to experience it yourself. 

I would recommend starting with this one :) 

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