By Bodie and Brock Thoene
Published by Zondervan
This is the 2nd installment in the Jerusalem Chronicles book. I didn't realize that fact until I was halfway through it and just happened to catch the note. It is easily a stand-alone novel. And thankfully, it isn't a novel that leaves you in suspense for a year while you wait for the next book in the series to come out.
I have loved every Thoene book I've ever read. They are incredible storytellers who invest a lot of time and talent into researching and incorporating history into their novels.
This book shares the story of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on what we celebrate as Palm Sunday, and tells it through the eyes of a child named Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was raised under a priest who studied the stars. According to the story, he joined the wise men who followed the Christmas star and saw the Saviour after His birth. There were many references to constellations in unique positions, telling the Gospel story in the night sky. This was fascinating to me, knowing that the Thoene's heavily research such things before sharing them and especially considering the week that I was reading the book: the week of Passover and the recent Blood Moon!
There were a couple of moments that did make me uncomfortable. Twice the book referred to verses of the Bible that we all know and said that they were misunderstood because the Aramaic words sound so similar. For instance, the verse comparing rich men entering heaven with a camel fitting through the eye of a needle is quoted as being rope in the eye of a needle. They explain that camel and rope sound very similar in the original language and that many people just misunderstood what Jesus really said. This certainly makes a lot of sense, but questioning the accuracy of scripture isn't a little thing.
This was the first Thoene book I've read that included some fanciful imagery. If it had been anyone else, I might have found it a bit silly. There was a large deer, alive since the garden of Eden who interacted with Nehemiah and sort of spoke to him. Nehemiah also met Joseph (of rainbow coat fame) through visions and flew with Nehemiah at one point. These fanciful moments were reminiscent of Narnia, but the rest of the novel didn't follow that pattern, so it felt a bit awkward. Still, it was an engaging novel and gave a beautiful perspective on the Easter story.
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