The First Time We Saw Him

Awakening to the Wonder of Jesus

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Scripture tells us that the words of Jesus made people uncomfortable, confused, angry, repentant, worshipful, and riotous. Today, we read the words of Christ in a steady, even tone and find ourselves wondering if maybe we're missing something. Could it be that we've lost the emotional power of Jesus's words simply because we're too familiar with them?

With incredible insight into the surprising and unsettling aspects of Jesus's parables and life, Matt Mikalatos reimagines familiar stories and parables in a modern-day setting, bringing alive all the controversy and conflict inherent in the originals. Emotional, sometimes humorous, and even jaw-dropping, these stories raise provocative questions and offer a glimpse of Jesus as his contemporaries must have seen him.


"Matt Mikalatos retains the scandal and surprise of the most famous Gospel narratives while recasting them in modern language that ignites the imagination and awakens the soul. This book will have you seeing aspects of the gospel anew and leave you wondering, 'Who wouldn't want to know a Jesus like this?'"--Jonathan Merritt, author of Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined; senior columnist for Religion News Service

"Matt Mikalatos extracts the best-known stories of the Gospels from their ancient setting and inserts them boldly into a modern context. This is a must-read for those seeking a fresh look at the living, breathing Christ."--Josh D. McDowell, author and speaker

"In this highly original book, Matt Mikalatos ups the ante in our understanding of Jesus in ways that are unsettling, challenging, poignant, and inspiring all at the same time."--Tom Krattenmaker, contributing columnist for USA Today; author of The Evangelicals You Don't Know


Matt Mikalatos is the author of My Imaginary Jesus and Night of the Living Dead Christian, and has been on staff with Cru for fifteen years. He has a master's degree in biblical theology from Western Seminary and lives with his family near Portland, Oregon. Learn more at www.mikalatos.com.


Endorsements

"So much of what we know about Christ is wrapped up in narrative--either stories about Jesus or parables told by Jesus. Considering this, it is difficult to underscore the importance of understanding these Gospel stories. But grasping their true meanings is a formidable task for those of us who are separated from them chronologically, geographically, culturally, and politically. In The First Time We Saw Him, Matt Mikalatos retains the scandal and surprise of the most famous Gospel narratives while recasting them in modern language that ignites the imagination and awakens the soul. This book will have you seeing aspects of the gospel anew and leave you wondering, 'Who wouldn't want to know a Jesus like this?'"

Jonathan Merritt, author of Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined; senior columnist for Religion News Service

"Matt Mikalatos extracts the best-known stories of the Gospels from their ancient setting and inserts them boldly into a modern context. Here, biblical characters appear more vulnerable, immediate, and accessible. This is a must-read for Christians seeking a fresh look at the living, breathing Christ."

Josh D. McDowell, author and speaker

"In this highly original book, Matt Mikalatos situates Jesus in contemporary settings with great insight and storytelling skills. In doing so, he ups the ante in our understanding of Jesus in ways that are unsettling, challenging, poignant, and inspiring all at the same time. No Christian will be able to remain complacent about his or her faith journey after reading this book."

Tom Krattenmaker, contributing columnist for USA Today; author of The Evangelicals You Don't Know

"In The First Time We Saw Him, author Matt Mikalatos gives us Jesus in 3-D, the literary equivalent of viewing the Gospels on a giant IMAX movie screen instead of the tiny, cracked black and white television tubes of static images and stale imagination. But there are no camera tricks here, no spiritual special effects because the truth as Matt shows us is clear, beautiful, and special enough already. Be warned, however. We'll be on the edge of our seats for this presentation, which shakes us out of our comfortable, preconceived ideas--just like Jesus did to everyone he encountered."

Clay Morgan, author of Undead: Revived, Resuscitated & Reborn

"The Bible stories that should rock our world and corrode our naturalistic presuppositions often don't because of the twin barriers of all-too-familiar stories and unfamiliar culture. Matt Mikalatos retells some of those stories, placing them in today's world so we can feel the narratives and be refreshed by their life. As I read them, my professor's mind and pastor's heart were drawn to ponder anew the wonder of Jesus."

Gerry Breshears, PhD, professor of theology at Western Seminary, Portland

"Matt Mikalatos has pressed the refresh button on the life of Christ, so that I felt the shock, relief, and even annoyance that Jesus's first audience must have felt. You'll find The First Time We Saw Him actually work on you with raw, subversive persuasion. A clever resource for any preacher, teacher, or small group wanting new ways to reveal Jesus's intelligence and surprising power."

Jonalyn Fincher, vice president of Soulation

"Mikalatos has done it again: written a wonderful, insightful, and humor-filled book. Okay, that's not the full story. If I'm being honest this blurb should read 'Mikalatos has done it again: written a wonderful, insightful, and humor-filled book that I WISH I WROTE!!!' Matt's contemporary 'retelling' of Sunday School's Greatest Hits breathes new life into the Bible stories we think we fully understand. Entertaining and smart, Mikalatos draws us closer to deeper understanding by meeting us where we live and telling the stories in a way that engages us here, now, in twenty-first-century North America."

Dan Merchant, author of Lord, Save Us from Your Followers

"What if you could see Jesus like you've never seen him before? In a fresh way that shatters the complacency that comes from hearing the same stories so many times they barely reach your heart anymore? If you said, 'Yes! Bring it on!' then this brilliant collection of stories is for you. They opened my mind, but more importantly, opened my heart to the power of the gospel and the power of Jesus--not back then--but for today. I was completely captured by The First Time We Saw Him."

James L. Rubart, bestselling author of Soul's Gate, Memory's Door and Rooms


The Author

  1. Matt Mikalatos

    Matt Mikalatos

    Matt Mikalatos is the author of The First Time We Saw Him, My Imaginary Jesus, and Night of the Living Dead Christian, and has been on staff with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) for fifteen years. Matt is an active member of the...

    Continue reading about Matt Mikalatos