The US Review of Books
"I saw what I knew and did not know, and as I approached one of the circles of wise men... I felt I could learn..."
Did you ever wonder what Jesus himself thought about his birth, life, death, and resurrection? How did he feel on hearing Mary, his mother, relate details of two miraculous births in the family—cousin John’s birth and his own? Did he hope one day to marry or own a carpentry shop like his stepfather, Joseph? This historical novel begins with Jesus learning of his special path. At twelve on the verge of manhood, his parents brought him to Jerusalem. Jesus sought answers from ancient elders who met in groups at the temple. He wished to learn what his purpose on earth might be. Was it to single-mindedly follow God’s path for his life step-by-step?
He understood the Trinity when nearing the age of thirty. Jesus located his cousin John the Baptist at the Jordan river and requested to be baptized. At his baptism, he felt God’s presence everywhere, and then the Spirit of God came upon him. Hurried by the Spirit, he went into the wilderness. As a Jewish scholar, Jesus was able to use Old Testament quotes to defeat his tempter. The author claims that coming out of this 40-day wilderness test, Jesus was fresh with enlightenment. In the synagogue at Nazareth, his hometown, Jesus read aloud from the scroll of Isaiah 61. It was then that he knew and accepted his mission as anointed to fulfill those words. Former disciples of John the Baptist followed Jesus through neighboring towns. The author provides an interesting description of his disciples, ordinary men who believed that God had called Jesus to be a Son of God. The Old Testament is full of prophecies. Did Jesus purposely plan to follow all to the letter?
As is true of any book on apologetics, Miller’s 165-page work raises more questions than it seems to answer. The author rightly assumes that many Christian readers have been taught that Jesus was fully God. Using his skill as a writer, Miller records Jesus’ meditations and analytical conclusions leading up to his arriving at enlightenment. The author also amplifies this theme by Jesus telling his life story in a first-person narrative. Other teachings use the third-person, all-knowing style.
The author occasionally includes obvious anachronisms in the text, such as showing a New Testament character’s concern for “hogging the stage” and trying “to think positively.” These are possibly used, however, to help modern readers relate more to the story being told. Quotations are taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible and are referenced in the extensive notes. Readers may disagree with the enlightenment theory in regard to Jesus and yet appreciate the author’s taking a new look at him. There is much to admire about Miller’s approach. Jesus’ willingness to be obedient to the Father’s will is something that most professing Christians aspire to. Others may struggle with the concept of the Trinity, which the baptized Jesus accepts willingly. The descriptions of the resurrection from the dead and ascending to heaven may provoke thoughts of what it might be like at one’s own demise. Miller has produced a masterful tale as well as an argument for Christianity.
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