You will appreciate the mastery of Jesus only to the degree that you understand the minefield he walks. He is advancing against the prince of darkness in a bid for the human heart. The whole situation is booby-trapped. Satan already has the upper hand—he took our hearts captive when we fell, back in Eden. Some he has snared through abuse, some through seduction, others by means of religion. Oh, how hard it is to rescue the human heart, to dislodge people from their chosen means of survival without toppling them into resignation, despair, or defensiveness.

Jesus won’t take the shortcut of a power play. He doesn’t force anyone to follow him. He seems rather reluctant to do his miracles. He never overwhelms anyone’s will with a fantastic display of his majesty. He woos, he confronts, he delivers, he heals, he shoots straight, and then he uses intrigue. He lives out before them the most compelling view of God, shows them an incredibly attractive holiness while shattering the religious glaze. But still, he lets them walk away if they choose.

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