Review: Michael Reeves’ Rejoicing in Christ (IVP Academic)


About half way through in the margins of my copy of Rejoicing in Christ, I write “punchy, down to earth, and full of merriment.” That’s my review. Reeves surprises (meant in the most positive fashion) with equal parts verve and gladness. He’s not afraid to turn a phrase or punch you in the nose with an arresting metaphor. I found myself lost many times in worship as I read. That is rare and to be praised. Reeves has done it again.

What’s odd about Rejoicing in Christ is that Reeves admits it’s run-of-the-mill:

Once upon a time a book like this would have utterly run-of-the-mill. Among the old Puritans, for example, you can scarcely find a writer who did not write—or a preacher who did not preach—something called The Searchable Riches of Christ, Christ Set Forth, The Glory of Christ or the like. Yet today, what sells? What puts the smile on the booksellers face? The book that is about the reader. (9)

He’s right on both accounts. The Puritans pluck the cord he’s playing a lot, and very few today play that same cord. That alone should encourage you to read this book with a heart ready for worship. Rejoicing in Christ is a return to another time when books were less about us and more about Christ.

Let me see in my remaining time if I can share some of my favorite passages that pointed me to Christ and caused my heart to sing His praise. My hope is these passages will spark worship in your heart and encourage you to immediately read Reeves’ book.

He is the treasure of the Father, shared with us. Sometimes we find ourselves tiring of Jesus, stupidly imagining that we have seen all there is to see and used up all the pleasure there is to be had in him. We get spiritually bored. But Jesus has satisfied the mind and heart of the infinite God for eternity. Our boredom is simply blindness. If the Father can be infinitely and eternally satisfied in him, then he must be overwhelmingly all-sufficient for us. In ever situation, for eternity. (21).

There on the third day of Genesis 1 we see the first fruits of creation (as Christ, raised on the third day, would be the first fruit of the new creation, of resurrection from the dead). These “firstfruits” each reproduce “according to their kinds” because they have seed—the next generation—within them. Thus what happens to the fruit happens to the seed. So it is, says Paul, with Adam and Christ. They are the firstfruits of two very different crops: one of death, the other of life. All others are but seed in one of those fruits. (41)

It all means that the cross is a place thick with irony and paradox: there the beautiful one is vile, the holy one is placed between criminals, the high and mighty one is lifted up, but to die. For on that day so altogether different from his eternal life, Jesus proved most definitively who he is and what is like. (59)

The imagine Jesus used to explain the Lord’s Supper: “He [1] took bread, [2] gave thanks and [3] broke it, and [4] gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you’” (Lk 22:19). Now if the bread is really all about his body, then in four little actions Jesus managed to encapsulate all that he was doing. He had come down from heaven and (1) taken a body as a man, and in that body he had lived a life of (1) giving thanks to God; he would then lay down that life, (3) breaking his body on the cross, all so that in the end, he could (4) give himself to us. (84)

This last selection jump starts the ending salvo of Rejoicing in Christ. Reeves ends with masterful painting of our life together in Christ. “We are forgiven in order to know and enjoy Christ. Knowing him is the only true life” (121). Furthermore, knowing Christ, Reeves says, is holiness, apart from him its religiosity and morality (p. 86). Christians let me repeat this magnificent truth: We are in Christ and, therefore, enjoy life together in Christ with God. Knowing more of Christ is never a solo act. It is always in community with the Trinity and the body of Christ.

Just reading through these selection and typing them up has gladdened my heart and prepared it for worship. I hope it has done the same for you and I hope it has given you enough of a taste to convince you to purchase your copy with due haste.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Mathew B. Sims is the author of A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and a contributor in Make, Mature, Multiply (GCD Books). He completed over forty hours of seminary work at Geneva Reformed Seminary. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and the project manager for the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Mathew offers freelance editing and book formatting services. He is a member at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.