A BOOK “REVIEW”: THE MIND OF JESUS by William Barclay
Tags: Jesus, Jesus Christ, Books,, The Mind of Jesus, William Barclay, Christianity, Faith, Spiritual
I’m currently studying the fascinating (at least it is to me!) book ‘The Mind of Jesus’ by William
Barclay (published by SCM Press Ltd, Bloomsbury St, London (first published 1960)
*Here are my brief notes that I’m sharing “in a spirit of good will and n some small way of preserving
the life work and most revealing writings of William Barclay in the digital age”. (I’ve put my own
thoughts, possible areas of disagreement and my queries in brackets – questions and topics for
further discussion… possibly). This book of William Barclay is written from a quite “religious
perspective”; so hope these notes are not too “heavy heavy” for you. Anyway hopefully, it’ll get you
thinking about the person and life of Jesus. So enjoy… and grow along the last “unexplored frontier
of the human mind”… as well as the spiritual journey…
In this book William Barclay, formerly a lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow,
Scotland, interprets the Gospels with as much psychological insight as is possible. The historical
background is described so as to illuminate the whole story, and both the words and the works of
Jesus are presented with a fresh comprehensiveness, always bearing in mind the questions which
modern readers ask.
As one reviewer has commented, ‘he brings to his task the experience of the tried preacher, as well
as the learning of the scholar’. For years Dr Barclay has cherished the ambition to write this life of
CHAPTER 1 THE GREAT DISCOVERY
Jesus felt the need to rediscover Jewish religion. He had a unique realisation of God as his Father;
and he had a unique realization that it was his life’s work to bring men to God, and to bring God to
men, in a way that neither priest nor rabbi could ever do. He knew why he had come into the world.
(ie he had a great sense of purpose and a strong feeling of destiny)
2 WAITING FOR THE CALL
Eighteen years is a long time to wait, but the silent years were not wasted years, for they were years
of preparation for the task no one else in the world could do. Throughout the years Jesus was
learning all the time,
To Jesus the name ‘father’ (‘Abba’ in Aramaic) was the most natural and the most precious name for
God. The Son of God, when he came into this world, prepared himself to save the world.
3 THE HOUR STRIKES
In the baptism we see the self-identification of Jesus with men and the self-dedication of Jesus to the
purposes of God. In that moment of the baptism there was kindled in the heart of Jesus a flame of
sacrificial love, which nothing in time or in eternity could ever extinguish.
4 CHOOSING HIS WAY
One of the most sacred in the whole Gospel narrative. The tempter put forth every effort he could,
yet Jesus overcame them all. The tempter began by seeking to make Jesus doubt his own call from
God, but Jesus was so sure of God, and of his own relationship to God, that his attack failed.
Temptations to the selfish use of power, material benefits, to seek quick results by sensational
means, the temptation to win popularity by compromise and more than anything else, the
temptation to distrust himself and to doubt his call.
5 A change of life must overcome a change of heart. Paul’s commission was to turn men from
darkness to light (Acts 26:18)
Repentance means the reversal of life to face God. A man cannot take any of the steps of
repentance without the help of Jesus Christ (??)
6 THE KINGDOM OF GOD
In the Gospels the use of the two phrases the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven mean
exactly the same. Kingdom of God is not territory, it’s the sovereignty, the lordship, the reign of God.
‘ Make the Kingdom the object of all your endeavour.’
In the Lords prayer
‘ Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’
The Kingdom is a personal issue between God and man. Any person who accepts the will of God is
within the Kingdom. Through him the Kingdom had come and was to come. (???)
In Jesus the Kingdom was embodied. He alone of all who had ever lived, perfectly and completely
fulfilled the will of God. The very essence of his life’s obedience to the will of God.
To do the will of God and be in the Kingdom of God are one and the same thing.
A Christ who still does things
There s little use in a Jesus who did things almost two thousand years ago, but who has ceased to do
them now. What we need is a Christ who still does things….today!