Anselm Grun is a Benedictine monk of Munsterschwarzach in Germany. He is the author of many books including Heaven Begins Within You and Building Self-Esteem: The Christian Dimension. In this fresh and soul-stirring interpretation of Luke's account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Grun shows how the sophisticated author tried to make his words and ideas accessible to the Greek world. Grun covers the stories of Jesus' childhood, his healing ministry, and his parables, his prayer methods, his passion, and resurrection stories. The author sees this evangelist as the first liberation theologian, an advocate of women, a supporter of the poor, a devotee of everyday life, and as a champion of the church year.
Perhaps the most important emphasis in the gospel of Luke is his belief in the divine center in all of us. Grun writes: "Luke sees Jesus as the one who develops our true image. He refrains from constantly describing men and women as sinners. Human beings have a divine nucleus. But they are alienated from this divine nucleus. So Jesus comes down from heaven to recall them to their divine dignity. Luke's positive picture of human nature would be good for our Christian preaching today. For too long we have thought that we first had to do men and women down so that they accept the grace of God. Luke doesn't adopt such an approach, which ultimately devalues us. He sees human beings as they are, in their dignity, but also with their hurts and wounds. So he depicts Jesus as the true physician who heals our wounds and teaches the art of healthy living. Jesus is the physician who raises us up to our true dignity when we are turned in on ourselves and cannot see beyond our narrow horizon."
We agree with Grun on this point and were quite moved by his daring interpretation of Jesus' baptism. The author states that any time we pray, heaven opens above us, and the Holy Spirit descends on us, giving us a sense that we are unconditionally loved by God. Jesus: The Image of Humanity by Anselm Grun offers many interesting twists on familiar Christian texts.