This book is now one of my favorite books of all time.
Having been a Christian all of my life (which is 37 years, for those who are counting), I have read so many Christian novels. I have heard the Resurrection told countless times. I have read about our Lord’s crucifixion, resurrection, appearances and ascension in the four Gospels so many times that I can practically recite them for you. Which I will be glad to do, by the way. It’s a true story that you most definitely need to hear about.
But never have I read a novel from an unbeliever’s point of view. And not just an unbeliever, but a Roman Tribune who was in charge of making sure that the crucifixion went smoothly. Seeing the events from his perspective was absolutely addicting for me. Because I know the Yeshua that he kept hearing about from Pontius Pilate. I know the followers of Yeshua, that the Tribune and his men were keeping an eye out for. I know this story, because it happened, and I know the risen Lord personally. But Clavius; Clavius not only didn’t believe that Jesus was anything more than a delusional man, but had a shrine set up in his home dedicated to the gods that he did believe in.
Angela Hunt, Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello do such an incredible job telling this story. Doubtless most of you have heard of the movie by now, and I truly hope that you have gone and seen it. I have yet to see it, though it’s on my list of To-Do’s. But I have to admit, the book has set a pretty high bar for the move, in my opinion.
I really, really don’t want to give any part of this book away, so I won’t go into the details that I am dying to go into for you. But one thing that gave my heart such a thrill, is when Clavius begins meeting people from the Bible that I hold so dear to my heart. Peter, Mary Magdalene, John the Beloved…and Jesus Himself.
The story switches back and forth between Clavius, and a Jewish woman (who Clavius happens to know very well) named Rachel. And while she too, comes to know Jesus as the story progresses, it was Clavius that had my rapt attention.
There is one thing that I wish had been done just a wee bit differently. But that’s probably because I’m pretty nit-picky about this. Jesus was all about love. He IS love. And absolutely everyone needs to let that Truth sink into the very depths of their souls. But He was and is so much more than that. He is power, personified. He had just risen from the dead. Conquered the grave. His resurrection was so beyond incredible, that other dead folks had risen as well at the same time, and now walked around, living and breathing and eating and laughing. So yes, while Clavius was astounded by the love that Yeshua exhibited towards him, I wish the book had also focused on the awe that is our King.
Also? In this book, Peter was snarky and impatient and funny and larger-than-life. I loved it. I truly believe that Peter was all of these things and more, a true Galilean. How I love that man.
Bottom Line: Friends? Clavius may be a fictional character. But Jesus? His resurrection? His dying on the cross? His forgiveness of your sins (as in ALL GONE)? It’s all true. Every last word. You can’t possibly fathom His love for you, and how He delights in you. Read. This. Book.
And then believe.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.