Messiah, by Jerry Thomas, was not a book I chose to read. Unfortunately, my worship group I’m in at the Christian high school I teach at elected to read this. Every morning before classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, small groups of teachers at the school meet to either pray, study the Bible, read a book, or some form of worship.
The overall premise of Messiah is telling the life of Jesus in a narrative from, from birth to resurrection. Which in itself is not a bad thing. The gospels are not written to be a narrative, but rather an introduction or overview of who Jesus was and what he taught. Thomas, though, adds commentary on what the application of Jesus’s miracles and teaching are. So, in essence, he’s interweaving narrative and commentary and it doesn’t always work. It’s not a fluid transition from narrative of Jesus’s life and teachings to Thomas’s commentary on “what it all means”. It’s actually rather abrupt. These rough transitions were annoying because it’s like someone looking over your shoulder while you’re reading constantly interrupting you and tell you why what you’re reading is important. Let me get there on my own!
What was also doubly frustrating is that as a good reader, I can tell the difference between writing that shows rather than tells and I know how to have a good discussion. Sadly, not all of my colleagues have this background. Several of them aren’t big readers, a problem that many teachers have, sadly, so they really liked the book. Which one would if you didn’t have a wide breadth of literature to draw on. Ultimately it was the discussions about the book that were more worthwhile than the actual reading. I think this book is meant for those who don’t know much about Jesus and his relationship to Christianity or to those that are looking for small bite-sized chunks of commentary to chew on. It’s not for those who are looking for something challenging or academic.