Title: Messiah to the Messed Up; Written by: Sue Ciullo
Published: April 27, 2014
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The book blurb:
Spend some time with Jesus and something profound is bound to happen to your heart. Messiah to the Messed Up interlaces rich Scripture narratives with twenty-first century stories. These threads, woven together, create an unforgettable tapestry of the life of Jesus, an image so real that you will feel His presence.
Watch Jesus arrive, parched and sweaty, and converse with a social outcast.
Witness Him dine with people that others shunned.
Wonder at His mercy when He spares an adulteress from execution.
See how Jesus is every bit as present today as He was 2000 years ago.
Watch Him love a teenaged girl who gets drunk on strawberry wine.
Witness His grace in a homeless man who offers an extravagant gift.
Wonder at His mercy as a veteran takes his last breath.
These stories snippets of time with Jesus will change your perspective on the Carpenter from Galilee.
This book is, in short, different than others that I have reviewed and blogged about. In other words, as nonfiction, there are no set made up main characters or or a certain set storyline. Nonetheless, I could already tell before reading that I will be opening this one up multiple times:
The book begins by comparing life to a seesaw and I'm sure that you can relate to the symbolism there. Life is chaotic, sometimes unpleasant, full of often messy struggles, no matter what the storybooks say. From that point on, the author uses a professional voice of well chosen, informative words to create a commonplace attitude: "Why is it important to get to know Jesus? Because I’m a mess, you’re a mess, and we all need a Messiah" she says.
To present the valuable New Testament lessons it shares, such as the stories around the Ministry of Jesus such as of the woman at the well, the rich young man, Zacchaeus, and Nicodemus, chapters are broken up by scriptural passages with each several parts: the Bible text itself, the historical background, a relevant story situation, an application, a closing, and finally a set of class discussion questions/ personal reflection questions.
As I assess what I have read, what stands out is the way that the author opens up with brutally honest, dramatic retellings of bits of her life and various people, good and bad, who she has been exposed to in addition to the information she includes about the details as pertaining to the scripture in her retellings of the scripture.
For example, the book has taught me, although I had already read the passage of John 4, more about the conflict between Jews and Samaritans that existed for 700 years and similarly about the way that the unpopular, Samaritan at the well was able to be used for God to be the very first female evangelist thru his unfailing love for each of us.
The book then went on to mention high school, McDonalds, and bands/ singers such as Paul McCartney, the Beetles, and Taylor Swift. Big difference, right? Personally, I love this set up and the way that it flows together smoothly... while providing such a wealth of information on each story.
What I get from reading this is that we each can be challenged for God a little more in each manner of life. As I read, I actively made notes and dogears on several ebook pages, for instance as I read that "When Jesus extended the invitation to one such man, he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” That doesn’t mean the man’s father was dead. In first-century Palestine, immediately upon the death of a parent, the eldest son closed the eyes of his mother or father. ... If the man’s father had been deceased, he would have been buried the same day; therefore, the man certainly could have met up with Jesus the following day."
This stands out because I can relate- Not that I'm waiting for any death in particular, but in the way that I can see myself making "Someday" goals that I'll never accomplish. Did you know this fact of history? Do you make these same goals?
Just like Jesus over 2000 years ago, this author uses stories relevant to today that are very touching and motivating.
If you are interested in reading this 152- page piece, which I can wholeheartedly recommend for teen or adult alike, group or individual, you can get an ebook copy on the current (limited time) kindle countdown sale for *less than a dollar*. Check it out on Amazon here.