Troubador Missing

Released: 01/08/2013

ISBN: 9781783060429

eISBN: 9781783068593

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Missing

Three Days in Jerusalem

by

A husband and wife arrive, tired and hungry, at an inn on their way home to Nazareth. They search in vain for their son, whom they assumed to have been travelling with the group. Twelve he may be – nearly a man, but not yet – and the city of Jerusalem is no place for a youth wandering about on his own. His name is Yeshua, and he is eventually found engaged in debate with rabbis in the temple. His knowledge of scripture is formidable, and some find his questioning precocious and interesting. However, the young Rabbi Caiaphas finds the boy’s views outrageous. Eventually reunited with his parents, Yeshua leaves Jerusalem to travel home. But he will return, for he is the lynchpin in the greatest spiritual revolution the world has ever known.

Missing: Three Days in Jerusalem is a refreshing and accessible account of the life of Jesus Christ, from his disappearance in Jerusalem as a boy to his earliest ministries, foreshadowing his future teachings. We meet him 21 years later, at the moment of his arrest, leading to his crucifixion, death and, on the third day, his resurrection. His companions reminisce about his miracles. Then he appears! He tells them he has been freeing souls from hell and commissions them to spread his truth. His followers have life-changing experiences as they engage in the slow but certain spreading of the ‘Way’, of Christianity, throughout the world.

This is not just a story about divinity: it is about ordinary people finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances. The world of occupied Judea in the early years of the first century is brought dazzlingly alive, and the message is clear: the ‘Way’ is open to everyone, no matter their background or creed, no matter their doubts and uncertainties. Missing is a work of historical fiction that will appeal primarily to Christians, but also to spiritual seekers, who will find it a fresh approach to the Gospel story. Sonia Falaschi-Ray has taken inspiration from Susan Howatch, especially her Starbridge novels.

Church Times

When Jesus was twelve years old, Luke tells us, he went with his parents to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. After his parents and the rest of their party set off to return to Galilee, Jesus remained three further days on his own in Jerusalem, spending time in the Temple and asking questions. Later, at the end of his life, Jesus also spent three days separated (this time by death) from his mother, his friends and his followers. This ingenious, engaging book is constructed around those two three-day Jerusalem Passover separations. It is written in the style of a novel, and much of the material is fictional, especially the account of the boyhood separation, where a mere seven verses in Luke are elaborated into 60 pages. It is striking, however, the way in which the author introduces into that account people who could very well have been among those whom Jesus met in Jerusalem (such as Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and Caiaphas), and who were to reappear twenty years later in the second separation at the time of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.

The author has clearly done extensive research and study both into the biblical sources and into the history, geography and archaeology of first century Palestine. This makes the account vivid and convincing. Even though the action of the book is at first sight confined to those two three-day periods in the life of Jesus (or Yeshua as he is called in the book), the author manages to include a remarkable amount of the gospel narrative by means of flashback and reminiscences exchanged by the various characters. There is also a Prologue set on a ship in 15 BC and an Epilogue in the form of a letter written from Cyrene 15 years after Jesus’ resurrection to complete the symmetry.

The book is written in a spirit of reverence and faithfulness to the text. The humanity of Jesus is emphasised at every turn, and to some this may come as a bit of a shock, although his divinity is stressed with increasing force as the narrative moves to its climax. The book helpfully obliges us to ask ourselves again what we really mean when we say that Jesus was fully human, “…in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”. Probably the most unusual chapter is the one entitled Harrowing of Hell – Saturday. This begins, significantly, with a quotation from the beginning of Dante’s Inferno. The chapter recounts encounters of Jesus before his resurrection with Adam and Eve and Cain, as well as with some of the more unsavoury characters to whom we have been introduced in the story up to this point. Some may feel uncomfortable at this interpretation of verses like 1 Peter 4:6. But it makes fascinating reading. That could be said of the book as a whole. It will be particularly useful in schools as a means of introducing the gospel story to students in a manner that is well thought out, faithful to the biblical text and yet the very opposite of prudish.

by Hugh Bradby


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