This was always about more than a book...
It’s hard to remember the exact moment when Jesus’ humanity started to become more real to me. But I do remember when I first begin to realize that I was trying to “fit” the person of Jesus into my preconceived view of God, instead of allowing Jesus to radically transform my view of God.
It’s a bit like this picture: the mannequin is a model of the boy, not the other way around, right?
And when it comes to God, even though there all sorts of amazing ways in which God is revealed—not least in the Holy Scriptures, in the wonder of creation, and in the image of God we see in others—the ultimate or final way God is revealed to us is in Jesus, whom the writer of the Book of Hebrews describes as God’s “exact” or “precise expression” (Heb. 1.1-3).
Once that truth dawned on me —that there is no better way to see God than by looking at Jesus—it set me on a faith-shifting journey deep into the heart of the Gospel accounts to encounter, to know, to be transformed by this vibrant, living, breathing, laughing, crying, flesh-and-blood first-century figure: Jesus.
And that journey, still unfolding, is changing everything for me…
Trent Sheppard is a teacher, writer, and Alpha New England's chaplain for college students. He lives in East Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife, Bronwyn, and their three children. Alongside his work with students, Trent is deeply involved in the life and wellbeing of their local community.
A sought-after communicator, Trent's teaching and travels have taken him to fifty nations, giving him the privilege of catching glimpses of Jesus all along the way—in the brown eyes of a brilliant boy named Billy Smith in Burundi, in the Christlike counsel of a Coptic monk on the outskirts of Cairo, in the warm welcome of a bighearted family in a bustling favela in Sao Paolo, in the indigenous sound of a Sami joik on the edge of the Arctic Circle, and, when he's at home, in the big laughs, local service, and exceedingly rich conversation he shares with neighbors, friends, and family in East Boston.