The last book in the Jerusalem Chronicles, Behold The Man, was such an eye opener for me. Set during the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, it’s written from a Roman point of view and had this theme, “What did Rome think of Jesus?” Honestly, every time I’ve read the gospels, it never occurred to me to ask what the Roman Empire thought of Christ. After all, the Bible is about spiritual things, right? Well…yes, the Bible does focus on the spiritual state of the Jewish people when Jesus preached and healed, but, understanding the political climate of the time can unmask another layer of Biblical truth. And man, did this book do that for me!
We read the story through the eyes of Governor Pilate, his wife, Claudia and the Roman centurion Marcus Longinus. At the beginning of the novel, they’re all in Rome, but soon, Rome sends them to Jerusalem where religion meets politics and the gospels unfold. Out of all the characters, Marcus was my favorite. The author put him in several stories from the New Testament, and what I liked most was that you got to see him grow to faith in the Messiah after repeated encounters with Jesus.
I learned so much from this novel. Reading about the political side of the story gave me a whole new appreciation for certain details in the Word of God. For example, the religious rulers told Pilate if he released Jesus he was no friend of Caesar and for many years I thought, “What does this have to do with Caesar?” Well, with the ability to heal and raise people from the dead, Jesus would be a great threat to the Roman Empire if He assembled an army. Rome wouldn’t be able to squash a rebellion if the enemies they killed were being raised from the dead or having their wounds healed! The second thing that made a deep impression on me was when the centurion, portrayed in this book as Marcus, stood at the foot of the cross, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Before reading this book, I never knew how dangerous it was for the centurion to say that. I’ve always thought, “Well, of course he should say that, it’s true!” But, for a Roman to call anyone “god” besides Caesar was treason. The centurion himself could have been crucified for making such a statement. Things like this gave the gospels a whole new layer – loved it!
Conclusion: As mentioned in my previous reviews, I read the Jerusalem Chronicles in preparation for Easter. My goal was to read Biblical Fiction set in the New Testament as a way to think differently about the story I’ve heard my whole life – Jesus and the cross. This was the perfect series for that. Not only did it add a layer of historical facts and way of life to the spiritual side I already knew, it taught me a lot about the politics of Rome and how the Jewish religious leaders were more willing to sell out to their oppressors than risk believing that Jesus was truly God. If anything ruled in Jerusalem at the time of Christ, it was fear. Aside from the historical aspect of the book/series, I loved all the characters and felt that they were three dimensional and had depth. The series opened up a whole new layer of the Bible for me, and so, if you’re looking for a deep read that will challenge what you know about the New Testament, here you go. This is a great series if you like Biblical Fiction – all three books in the Jerusalem Chronicles are a must read! Try and read them in order, but if you can’t, at least read Behold The Man. You won’t regret it!
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Interested in other reviews from this author? Then check out…
When Jesus Wept —> Here
Take This Cup —> Here
Vienna Prelude —> Here
Prague Counterpoint —> Here
Munich Signature —> Here
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