The Family of Jesus
Karen Kingsbury is a #1 New York Times bestselling novelist whose sales boast more than 20 million copies. In her newest release, THE FAMILY OF JESUS, she strays from her familiar territory of writing book-length fictional tales. Here, she utilizes her formidable storytelling skills and combines them with biblical history to create a text that fills in what could have happened to some of the most beloved characters in the New Testament: Jesus’ family members.
Kingsbury targets readers’ hearts and minds as she captures the emotions of the stories so many Christians have heard over and over again. She intermingles fictional details that help us “feel” what their characters must have felt. Then she sets the foundation of the story as told in the Bible, and combines historical and theological insights to aid us in further application and reflection.
Specifically, Kingsbury highlights the hidden background history of Joseph, the protective stepfather; Zechariah, the knowing uncle; John the Baptist, the chosen cousin; Elizabeth, the faithful aunt; James, the doubting brother; and Mary, the loving mother.
"By the close of the final page, readers will discover they have learned a great deal more about these biblical characters and will take that newfound knowledge and understanding with them as they revisit these same stories in the months and years to come."
Christians worldwide and throughout history have often wondered what Joseph was really like; they want to know more about this man who was Jesus' stepfather. Kingsbury helps to complete the missing storyline here with a vivid account of what Joseph most likely endured emotionally and mentally after Mary confided in him that she was pregnant. He struggled to believe her, as would any man. What she told him seemed impossible, and it was, by all human accounts. Joseph was tormented by the choice he felt compelled to make. He knew what people would do to Mary if he divorced her and then her pregnancy became public knowledge. When the angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and told him not to be afraid and to take Mary as his bride, he obeyed. Once Mary gave birth to Jesus, again Joseph was warned to flee, and he did. Joseph fulfilled God’s perfect plan for Jesus’ upbringing, and Kingsbury completes his story to the satisfaction of readers’ imaginations and in line with what is revealed in the Bible.
In the same lovingly depicted way, Kingsbury completes the other five stories of Jesus’ family members and how they interacted with Him as a man and as the Son of God. She helps readers imagine the highs and the lows that accompanied an intimate relationship with Jesus. Then she turns her attention to composing a thorough personal Bible study of the previous stories. Each character is given a five-day devotional study complete with daily Bible readings, an essay on the character, and takeaway questions. Following each individual study, Kingsbury offers a group discussion section for more in-depth looks at these men and women who were close to Jesus.
By the close of the final page, readers will discover they have learned a great deal more about these biblical characters and will take that newfound knowledge and understanding with them as they revisit these same stories in the months and years to come. There’s a reason why America loves Karen Kingsbury, and THE FAMILY OF JESUS is just another confirmation of that fact.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on August 13, 2014