The Shack

by

William P. Young

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Jesus Character Analysis

Jesus is “the son” in the tri-part God depicted in the novel (the other parts being Papa and Sarayu). In some ways, he most closely aligns with Mack’s preconceived image: he is a kind Middle Eastern man who enjoys woodworking and helps Mack to literally walk on water. With kindness and humor, he helps Mack to understand new ideas about faith over the course of the weekend, including talking through Mack’s ideas about what he expects God to look and act like. He also tells Mack that the church is simply a bureaucratic institution created by humans, and he prefers for those who follow him to try to form more personal, direct connections rather than being distracted by the trappings of religion.

Jesus Quotes in The Shack

The The Shack quotes below are all either spoken by Jesus or refer to Jesus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Independence from God Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Windblown Media edition of The Shack published in 2007.
Chapter 2 Quotes

“Sweetheart, Jesus didn’t think his Daddy was mean. He thought his Daddy was full of love and loved him very much. His Daddy didn’t make him die. Jesus chose to die because he and his Daddy love you and me and everyone in the world. He saved us from our sickness, like the princess.”

Related Characters: Mackenzie Allen Phillips (speaker), Papa/Elousia, Jesus, Missy
Related Symbols: Waterfalls
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

“Oh”—now Jesus was serious—“don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points around here. Go because it’s what you want to do.”

Related Characters: Jesus (speaker), Mackenzie Allen Phillips, Papa/Elousia
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

So this was God in relationship? It was beautiful and so appealing. He knew that it didn’t matter whose fault it was—the mess from some bowl that had been broken, that a planned dish would not be shared. Obviously, what was truly important here was the love they had for one another and the fullness it brought them. He shook his head. How different this was from the way he sometimes treated the ones he loved!

Related Characters: Willie (speaker), Mackenzie Allen Phillips, Papa/Elousia, Sarayu, Jesus
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

“What you’re seeing here is relationship without any overlay of power. We don’t need power over the other because we are always looking out for the best. Hierarchy would make no sense among us.”

Related Characters: Sarayu (speaker), Mackenzie Allen Phillips, Papa/Elousia, Jesus
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“It is your desperate attempt to get some control over something you can’t It is impossible for you to take power over the future because it isn’t even real, nor will it ever be real. You try to play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try to make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear.”

Related Characters: Jesus (speaker), Mackenzie Allen Phillips
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

“The world is broken because in Eden you abandoned relationship with us in order to assert your own independence. Most men have expressed it by turning to the work of their hands and the sweat of their brows to find their identity, value, and security.”

Related Characters: Jesus (speaker), Mackenzie Allen Phillips
Related Symbols: Gardens
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“Mack, that’s because you’re seeing only the institution, a man-made system. That’s not what I came to build. What I see are people and their live, a living, breathing community of all those who love me, not buildings and programs.”

Related Characters: Jesus (speaker), Mackenzie Allen Phillips
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

Mack was amused. “Willie,” he whispered, “it’s not a secret. God is everywhere. So, I was at the shack.”

Related Characters: Mackenzie Allen Phillips (speaker), Jesus, Willie
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Shack LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Shack PDF

Jesus Character Timeline in The Shack

The timeline below shows where the character Jesus appears in The Shack. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Gathering Dark
The Nature of God Theme Icon
...if the story is true, and if the Great Spirit is another name for God, Jesus’s Papa. Mack is pleased by the question and says that he thinks so. Missy asks... (full context)
Chapter 5: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Grief and Emotion Theme Icon
...if she is slightly transparent. She is dressed in gardening clothes. Behind her is a man in his thirties in work clothes who appears Middle Eastern . Mack finds his smile captivating. (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The Nature of God Theme Icon
...himself, saying he enjoys working and fixing things. He has many names but goes by Jesus to many. The second woman introduces herself as Sarayu, keeper of the gardens. Mack is... (full context)
Chapter 6: A Piece of [Pi]
Independence from God Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...telling Mack he can follow or do whatever else he likes. Mack stays outside with Jesus for a moment and asks if he’s supposed to go inside and talk with God,... (full context)
Independence from God Theme Icon
...start to understand what freedom actually is—it’s all about the man out in the woodshed, Jesus. (full context)
The Nature of God Theme Icon
...sees that Papa has scars on her wrists, outlining pierce wounds. She says that what Jesus chose to do cost them dearly, but that they were together during Jesus’s time on... (full context)
The Nature of God Theme Icon
Papa says that becoming Jesus was a way to embrace the limitations of being human, even as Papa herself still... (full context)
Chapter 7: God on the Dock
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Mack is called back to the kitchen by a loud crashing sound. Jesus has dropped a large bowl of sauce and it has splattered Papa’s feet and the... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...it makes him think of formulaic bible recitations from his childhood. Instead, he watches as Jesus gently takes Papa’s hands and says sincerely that he loved watching Papa try to take... (full context)
The Nature of God Theme Icon
Jesus invites Mack outside to look at the stars. They lie down under the brilliant night... (full context)
Independence from God Theme Icon
Grief and Emotion Theme Icon
The Nature of God Theme Icon
Mack admits that he thought Jesus would be better-looking. Jesus says he is Jewish and asks what standards Mack is using... (full context)
Chapter 8: A Breakfast of Champions
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Jesus and Sarayu join them for breakfast, and Jesus, Sarayu, and Papa, enter into an intense... (full context)
Chapter 9: A Long Time Ago, in a Garden Far, Far Away
Grief and Emotion Theme Icon
...in process. He is overwhelmed with emotion. Handing Mack a picnic lunch, Papa says that Jesus wants to see him. (full context)
Chapter 10: Wade in the Water
Independence from God Theme Icon
Jesus takes Mack over to the lake and walks to the end of the dock, bidding... (full context)
Independence from God Theme Icon
With Jesus’s encouragement, Mack steps off the dock, and the two walk easily across the surface of... (full context)
Independence from God Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
As they eat their lunch, Mack asks why Jesus wouldn’t take back the earth if humans are destroying it. But Jesus says again that... (full context)
Independence from God Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Jesus says that ideally, all relationships should be founded this way. Instead, when humans struck out... (full context)
Chapter 11: Here Come Da Judge
Independence from God Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...taken to hell in the place of his children. Smiling, she says he sounds like Jesus and she is proud of him. She says that he has judged his children worthy... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Grief and Emotion Theme Icon
...calls Missy’s name, and she mimes giving Mack a final hug and kiss. He sees Jesus give Missy a hug as a waterfall crashes down in front of him, obscuring his... (full context)
Chapter 12: In the Belly of the Beasts
Grief and Emotion Theme Icon
...part of him—after all, Missy would not want it to be. He meets up with Jesus, who is skipping stones. Jesus explains that the woman in the cave was Sophia, a... (full context)
The Nature of God Theme Icon
Mack says he can’t stop thinking about Missy alone and terrified in the truck. Jesus stops him and says Missy was never alone—he, Sarayu, and Papa were with her the... (full context)
Independence from God Theme Icon
...see the water well up around his calves like usual. But unlike before he knows Jesus is there, so he doesn’t have to worry. Sure enough, Jesus soon joins him, and,... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...heaven, even though it didn’t resemble the pearly gates and gold-plated heaven he had envisioned. Jesus says that that image of heaven is derived from an image of Jesus’s bride, the... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Jesus says that the way to become part of the church is by embracing relationships and... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...much of the conversation going over his head, but he wants to try to understand. Jesus explains that in order to live a full life of friendship and openness, humans need... (full context)
Chapter 13: A Meeting of Hearts
The Nature of God Theme Icon
Realizing she’s referring to Jesus, Mack asks what Jesus accomplished by dying. Papa says that Jesus’s death and resurrection allowed... (full context)
Chapter 14: Verbs and Other Freedoms
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The Nature of God Theme Icon
Mack joins Sarayu, Jesus, and Papa at the table, where they openly talk and laugh with each other. He... (full context)
Independence from God Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Sarayu begins to explain that because of Jesus’s death, humans are no longer bound by the Commandments, but they still behave as if... (full context)
Chapter 15: A Festival of Friends
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Still crying, Mack returns to Sarayu as Jesus emerges from the darkness, dressed in a white garment and gold crown. The crowd erupts... (full context)
Chapter 16: A Morning of Sorrows
The Nature of God Theme Icon
...pack, filled with aromatic flowers and herbs that Mack and Sarayu picked the day before. Jesus says he will give Mack a gift when he returns. Papa makes Mack some breakfast,... (full context)
Chapter 17: Choices of The Heart
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Jesus meets Papa and Mack when they arrive back at the cabin. He takes Mack into... (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Grief and Emotion Theme Icon
...believe he didn’t realize that was the source of Kate’s grief sooner. He thanks Sarayu. Jesus also offers him a gift, the small tin box where Mack keeps his prized belongings.... (full context)
After Words
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The Nature of God Theme Icon
Willie says that Mack is hoping for a revolution of love and kindness revolving around Jesus and what he has done for us all. It will be a quiet revolution rooted... (full context)