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Max Lucado Talks About Our "Next Door Savior"

  • Janet Chismar Senior Editor, News & Culture
  • Published Sep 09, 2003
Max Lucado Talks About Our "Next Door Savior"

Crosswalk: Why is it so important for people to grasp the humanity of Jesus and not just His divinity?


Lucado: If we don't understand the humanity of Jesus, we simply won't go to Him with our problems. If my understanding of God is simply a God of power, of unlimited wisdom and strength, I may worship Him, but I won't approach Him.


It would be kind of like me going up to Tiger Woods and saying, "Can you sympathize with me? I shot a 98." He might teach me, but he would look at me and say, "I've never shot a 98 in my whole life."


Part of what God knows we need is His compassion, His sympathy, His understanding. Consequently, He knows exactly how you feel when you say, "God, my father is sick. I need help." The one who hears us in heaven says, "You know, Lazarus was sick. My mother was sick." He remembers the times on earth and consequently we can approach Him as one who understands.


Crosswalk: What would you say to the reader who objects when you mention Jesus, even though He did not sin, faced sexual temptation? Or to someone who finds other examples of the humanity of Jesus irreverent?


Lucado: I think there is something inside of us that wants to keep Jesus in a very hygienic world, but that wasn't His plan. He was born in a stable and placed in a feed trough and so the earliest smells he knew were cow dung and urine. He did get so tired that He fell asleep in a boat and didn't even wake up when the storm came through. He did get so hungry that He ate grain out of the wheat field. He was so tired that He sat down in Samaria and leaned up against the well. All these expressions of His humanity are there to teach us and to encourage us. I don't think we're being irreverent. I think we are being honest in description.


Crosswalk: Have you spent much time in Israel?

I've been there three times and each time it is a very profound experience. I guess I always thought it was such a big, glamorous place, but it really is so simple, rudimentary, small. It shows us how the world of Jesus was very primitive.


Crosswalk: Did you do other background research to be able to describe Jesus the man?


Lucado:  I found four, maybe five, [theology] books that were really helpful.  One of the things that I like to do is take some of these truths and make them a little more accessible, because these truths are so powerful and so profound, but sometimes they are written in an academic jargon that's just a little difficult. Most of the people in my church would never pull these books down off the shelf to look at.  So, I try to work with it in such a way that is makes it more understandable.


Crosswalk: Do you keep the seeker in mind when you are writing?


Lucado: I really do. The theme of my preaching and the philosophy of our church is that there is a broken heart in every pew - whether a seeker or a saved person. Really, I try to speak to person who is struggling - put fiber in the faith of the person who has faith - give reason to the person who has no faith.


Crosswalk: There will be a satellite broadcast on Oct. 5. Can you tell us a little about that?


Lucado: I think it is going to be really neat. It's a simulcast and what we are going to do is isolate out of the book about six different sections - both messages are five to seven minutes each. Interspersed in between those messages, we're going to have special music. Right now, Third Day has committed and there are invitations out to two or three other groups. I think it is going to be a very special hour and 15 minutes.


Crosswalk: I loved in the book how you compared President Bush walking the streets of your hometown to Jesus walking the earth. What was it like to meet the President?


Lucado: Oh, it was neat. And that story was really fun, because when I told him where I was from, his expression really did change. It provided a neat image of what it's like to know that God walked our streets.


Crosswalk: For my last question - you do a wonderful job of painting word pictures ... putting theological concepts into everyday language. Besides being a gift from God, do you work at your craft? Is it hard for you to write?


Lucado:  I love to work with words, but we work at it pretty hard - the "we" being me and my two editors. We do a lot of rewriting: taking it another layer, another layer, another layer. Going another round with it, over and over. That, I found, really seems to hone the product. It's kind of like a good polishing. So if there is anything we really try to do, we try to rewrite until we are sick of it!


Read the first chapter of Next Door Savior here. We guarantee you won't be sick of it!


Read an article about the companion CD here and find out who ranks among Max's favorite Christian artists.


Visit Max Lucado's website  here.