Book Review: ‘The Man Called Messiah’

Barbara M. BrittonBy Barbara M. Britton4 Minutes

Blood makes me squeamish. While fellow Christians watch popular movies about Christ’s Passion, I decline to watch Christ’s suffering. I love my Savior and I’m thankful for His eternal-life-giving sacrifice but dwelling on the cross is uncomfortable for me. Imagine my hesitancy when I was asked to read The Man Called Messiah.

I was surprised by how the author brought the Passion to the page. Surprised in the most excellent of ways. The details about the cross were gripping and accurate, but Christ’s suffering was eclipsed by the love shining through Christ’s sacrifice and the depiction of this love in the story. With every step closer to the cross, I was enthralled with my Savior’s concern for His flock and for me.

Stumne takes the reader on a journey with The Man and his disciples, journeying to Jerusalem for the Passover. We all are familiar with the story, but Stumne makes the reader believe they are part of the procession. A glimpse of the Last Supper sets a betrayal in motion. I sensed the apprehension in the Garden when The Man prays for the cup to pass only to find his friends asleep and a wayward disciple leading a mob to his tranquil place of prayer.

Tension abounds as Roman governors and rulers are perplexed about what to do with a Hebrew blasphemer. You will feel like a spectator caught in a crowd in awe of The Man’s miracles one day and screaming for his crucifixion the next. You will get a glimpse of Peter blurting lies to save his life when The Man was preparing to give up his own. Is it always darkest before the storm? Perhaps, but understanding how The Man could go through suffering and still think of saving me, had me turning pages to the end.

The joy of The Man’s resurrection and seeing the women who tended his wounds rejoice at his return to life will touch your heart. Long after I had closed this book, I would smile and remember the feeling of being thankful for a Savior who loves me. The Man—Jesus–shed his blood to cover a multitude of sins, including mine.

The author goes to great lengths to stay true to the gospel narratives. You might like to read the Scripture associated with the chapters and scenes as Stumne leads you through the Passion Week and beyond. One aspect of biblical fiction is that it drives readers to the story in the Bible and makes history memorable. While we all know The Man in the novel is Jesus, Stumne stays true to the inspired Word and does not take liberties. Scripture is handled in a careful and respectful manner.

I still won’t go to the movies and watch Christ’s passion on the screen. But I delight in the discovery of a novel that is such a moving reminder of how much Christ loves us. I highly recommend reading The Man Called Messiah.

Order your copy of The Man Called Messiah: A Novel by Corey Stumne