This beautiful coffee table book tells you who Jesus is in 21 ways
Shawn Wong, The Project J // March 31, 2021, 11:38 am
All images courtesy of Shawn and Project J.
Who is Jesus is a new book by The Project J that aims to show readers 21 qualities of Jesus Christ in an accessible and personal way. We sat down with its editor Shawn Wong for his heart and story behind the beautiful book.
Tell us, what inspired this book?
For some time, there have been truth-seekers, curious agnostics and vehement sceptics successfully caught in the wide (but often porous) nets of the Church, only to slip into oblivion after their first or second visit.
We can surmise all millennia about the reasons why, but one thing is for sure – many pre-believers need more than an inspiring postcard, a prayer or a friendly face to even consider believing in Jesus.
Relatively speaking, it’s easy for them to commit to going to a weekly meeting, to volunteer, even to surround themselves with a community.
It’s a whole other thing to 100% surrender their lives to a Person they have only heard or read about in casual conversation, religious harmony lessons and Wikipedia pages.
Without a doubt, people need to get to know the Person of Jesus. They need something to show them what this Jesus is like, that isn’t a six-inch-thick historical account.
Something easy on the eyes, that would compel them to go a little deeper, even if they don’t start off very interested. And that is why this book, Who is Jesus was written and produced.
Additionally, I had a friend who was a relatively new believer and visitor of a church I’d previously attended.
We had been good friends throughout the handful of years he was plugged into the church community. He seemed pretty happy, had fruitful interactions with friends and even volunteered in church.
Then one day, while I was overseas, I got a phone call from him. He shared with me about how he had been reflecting for some time and decided that there were some Christian principles he couldn’t accept.
The situation was so severe that he felt he could not continue associating with the church for as long as these principles were upheld. He had chosen a different lifestyle.
I was perplexed. I did not see this coming. There were no red flags. Just the week before I’d seen him in church and everything seemed normal. I decided to give him some space, which suited me as I, too, needed to reflect and pray about what just happened.
Sometime later, when the dust had settled somewhat, we caught up again. I’ll never forget what he said: “I don’t think that [biblical principle] is right. I think that [anti-biblical principle] is right. It just feels right. That’s why I decided to go with it.”
I realised everything boiled down to one thing. He might have been rooted in a community, been an active contributing member and never showed any signs of being shaken – but he never had a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
He’d stayed in church because he liked the people and felt like he belonged. He felt useful and important as a volunteer. He felt valued.
Knowing about Jesus is vastly different from knowing Him.
But he’d hardly built up a foundation of truth through Word study during his few years in church. His house had been built on the sand, and no one knew, because no one knew to ask.
Presumption by his community (myself included) that he was okay turned out to be the death of his spiritual walk. One gust of wind came and his house was not only shaken, but violently uprooted.
It seems he knew about Jesus. But knowing about Jesus is vastly different from knowing Him.
As such, Who is Jesus was designed to be the bridge between friends like these and Jesus Christ.
It seems the book is targeted at church newcomers and seekers. How do you envision Christians, churches or cell groups using it as a tool?
It was written with new believers and seekers in mind, yes. But saying that risks pigeonholing it, because it contains enough depth even for long-time believers to enrich their relationship with Jesus.
Many churches have been able to engage their members (old and new) through discipleship and relationship, but very few churches have the manpower, know-how and a robust enough system to sustainably and consistently carry this out. Fewer still can do so in the long term.
A sustainable, effective, long-term discipleship model is a rare thing. Who is Jesus was designed as a tool to make this process easier, both for the Church and the reader – to help bridge the gap.
Imagine what the words of life and truth written so accessibly and simply within this book can do for your cell groups as a resource for study, for your guests on your coffee tables, for your colleagues on your office desks, for your friend who doesn’t know Jesus personally or even for the best of us who may need revivals in our relationships with Him!
What can we expect to find in the book?
Who is Jesus will speak most to those who:
- love muted, minimalist editorial design.
- enjoy looking at mountains, trees, water and eagles.
- love learning new things.
- love studying the Bible.
- are interested in enriching their understanding of, and consequently, their relationship with Jesus.
And just to clarify, by no means was this meant to replace the Bible (nothing ever can)!
It is merely the opening act, a concise snapshot of this Jesus Christ dude everyone hears so much about, written in language and a flow that is accessible and easily understood by almost anyone – beautifully laid out amidst nature-based visuals that create a conducive atmosphere for faith.
If the New Testament and a coffee table book had a baby, this would be exactly it.
Who is Jesus distills 21 qualities of Christ from Scripture – such as Jesus as our Defender, Friend, and Resurrected King – and explores them from an authentic, down-to-earth point of view.
These reflections were written by Vicki Tekwani, a millennial with over a decade of pastoral ministry experience – a rare breed indeed.
Writing from that experience, in-depth knowledge and an authentic relationship with Christ, Vicki uses everyday examples interwoven with stories from Scripture to illustrate these 21 qualities.
How did God bring together the team for this project?
Having read Vicki’s writing, anyone would see it as wasteful for such valuable content to be printed in B&W on A4 sheets of paper, stapled on the top-left corner.
In popped professional photographer Nathaniel Leong (A Little Black Box) to contribute his photos to the book – and boy did they amaze!
Not only were they well-composed, well-edited and excellent in every way, they depict the indescribable beauty of God’s creation, creating a peaceful yet compelling atmosphere in which any reader can immerse themselves.
And pulling everything together in layouts that rival that of any Kinfolk magazine with elegant colours and typefaces was Promise Sing (The Project J).
Now that I think about it, it’s wonderful how God had orchestrated all this by bringing together a motley crew of professionals. Each come from a different home church, but are united in the same heart to create a beautiful resource that would project Jesus in our communities.
What do you most hope for the reader to know about Christ after reading this book? Or a Christian who might need a revival in his life?
For both the reader who never knew a true relationship with Christ and the one who has, I pray that they would receive an invitation beyond the words, imagery and ideas – an invitation into a divine relationship so intimate and real.
I pray they would catch this invitation, and RSVP with a resounding yes!
I pray that this would be the birthing of something fresh and unprecedented, that they would experience first-hand – not through someone else – the reality, closeness and love of Jesus Christ.
PAUSE + PRAY
- Take a few minutes and ask God who He wants you to share His love with.
- What are some practical ways you can bless this person and tell them about the love of God?
- Pray for this person and yourself. Then go forth to share God’s love!