Friday, November 7, 2014

Review of A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker has spent years creating stories that explore man's interaction with God, and although he's always fought the label of "Christian author," he's never hesitated to say that his stories are about Jesus and what Jesus has done. That's been clear in books like The Circle Series, The Books of Mortals, Boneman's Daughters, and The Bride Collector. Many of his stories have been parables, much like the kinds of stories Jesus himself told, but for a more contemporary audience. In A.D. 30, Dekker dives deeper than he ever has into a story about Jesus. This is no allegory. This is a look at Jesus in his original context from the eyes of a foreigner.

We take a journey with Maviah, a woman who has been shamed into slavery even though she should be a queen of her people. After her father's tribe is overrun, she's sent on a mission to King Herod Antipas to ask for help. She makes the long journey, a desperate woman who aches over the loss of her child. What she discovers when she arrives in Palestine is rumors of a Jewish mystic who has been causing quite a stir with his message about a kingdom not of this world. Soon she encounters Yeshua, and his message challenges everything she's ever known.

The strength of this book is the way Dekker makes us experience the world of the story. It's clear that Dekker did a lot of research for this book because it feels so authentic. By putting us in the mind of Maviah, we experience Jesus as a foreigner, which is really what we all are to the way of life he calls for. The book reads like a first-hand glimpse at the ministry of Jesus, and it's profound.

My only complaint about this story, and it's a small one, is that it felt like forever until we got to Jesus. That may have been the point, however. Much of the first half of the book is Maviah's dangerous journey to Palestine, and this part was difficult to get engaged with at times. However, once Maviah has arrived at the end of her journey, that's where the story picks up.

Ted Dekker has been my favorite author for years, and though I love some of his books more than others, I always appreciate his striving for authenticity in each of his books. He's one of the best storytellers out there. A.D. 30 is a unique book and one that anyone would benefit who wants to encounter Jesus afresh.

Review copy provided by Center Street

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