Take This Cup is the second book in the Jerusalem Chronicles, a biblical fiction series set at the time of Christ. If you read my review of the first book (When Jesus Wept) you may remember I began this series for Easter and really enjoyed it. The writing style and characters drew me into the world of Jerusalem, and the second book, Take This Cup, was just as captivating!
In the first book, we saw what life in Israel was like for the Jews under Roman rule. A Jew could be severely punished for something as innocent as an accident, if a Roman perceived it done as an insult. The punishment for an ill timed accident? Execution on the spot or a near death beating. From that setting, this second book takes a completely different direction in that the main character, a boy of nine named Nehemiah, lives 2,000 miles from Jerusalem in the land of Eden. Far, far from Rome’s oppressive rule. Nehemiah and his family are a work of the author’s imagination and are not Biblical people like other characters in the book/series. This gave the author the ability to make Nehemiah anything they wanted, and the result was a delightful story that could almost be described as “Biblical fantasy.”
What I mean by fantasy, is how the story begins. Nehi’s family are attacked by bandits while having dinner by campfire in their mountain home. During the fight, only Nehi and his old teacher, Rabbi Kagba, escaped. While hiding from the bandits, they discovered an ancient jar holding the silver chalice Melchizedek gave to Abraham long ago. This cup was passed down from generation to generation until it came to be Joseph’s and then King Solomon’s. Nehi’s mission was to travel to Jerusalem and give the chalice to Jesus to be used during Passover at the Last Supper. Oh, and did I mention young Nehi befriends the great hart on his journey to Jerusalem? The hart that, as legend has it, survived the flood on Noah’s ark and lived thousands of years for this very moment? Though these elements let me know the story was definitely fiction, that’s why I liked it so much. It was a different twist. When you pick up Biblical fiction, you may expect to read a plot line that’s mostly believable. I, for one, love reading Biblical fiction that’s as close to the original story as it can get. Yet, Take This Cup showed me that an author can write a story that’s completely unbelievable, and if it’s done correctly, I can really, really love it. This, is one of those books!
Conclusion: Take This Cup is my favorite book from the Jerusalem Chronicles. Nehemiah’s story added a different element to the series by taking into account what this period was like for Jews who didn’t live in Jerusalem. How far did news of Jesus travel in those days? Did they hear about His miracles through merchants who traveled through Israel? Another interesting thing about this series: instead of each book beginning where the last one left off, each book starts at the beginning again – Jesus’ being baptized in the river Jordan. With the first book (When Jesus Wept) showing what the Jews were experiencing at that time, and now this one expressing how Jews outside of Israel could have possibly heard and been curious of who Jesus was, you truly get the whole picture of what was going at that time! I also spent a lot of time on the imaginative aspect of the story; though not taken from the Biblical text, it still fit. I wasn’t familiar with the legends regarding the Holy Grail, but they added a different twist to the story I wasn’t expecting, and it was really good! Highly recommend! (…and yes, you should read the series in order, if you can.)
Interested in other reviews from this author? Then check out…
When Jesus Wept —> Here
Vienna Prelude —> Here
Prague Counterpoint —> Here
Munich Signature —> Here
Follow me on Instagram at @lynns_chronicles
To order a copy of this book, please visit —> Take This Cup