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Encounters with Jesus

Encounters with Jesus

New Testament stories in a contemporary setting

Martin Manser
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ISBN: 9781618420541
File size: 408KB
Number of pages: 110
Language: English

Book contents

Blind man at Bethsaida
The centurion by the cross
The centurion who showed faith
Disciples on the road to Emmaus
Disciples who turned away from Christ
'Doubting Thomas'
The farmer who owned pigs that died
Father of demon-possessed boy
The guard at Jesus' tomb
Herod Antipas
Herod the Great
James, the brother of Jesus
John the apostle
John the Baptist
Joseph, husband of Mary
Joseph of Arimathea
Jude, the brother of Jesus
The lame man by the pool of Bethesda
The leper who returned to say thank you
The man born blind
The master of the banquet
Money changers in the temple
One of the 500 who saw the risen Christ
The owner of the colt
The owner of the house used for Passover
The paralysed man lowered through the roof of a house
Pontius Pilate
The rich young man
The royal official’s son
The shepherds
Simon of Cyrene
Simon the Pharisee
Simon the Zealot
The teachers in the temple
The thief on the cross
The wise men
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A while back I was sitting at my computer – a book was inside me, waiting to burst out. I imagined I was Nicodemus, the man who met Jesus, as recorded in John chapter 3. I’d heard many talks on this passage, how he came to Jesus at night and the conversation that then followed. But I wanted to put the whole episode into a contemporary setting. It was something of an experiment at first – would it work? I’d always imagined I was more of an editor than a writer – and here I was editing the Bible text, or as I put it, thinking aloud. I imagined what might have gone on in Nicodemus’ mind as he was about to meet up with Jesus that evening… how he may have avoided a committee meeting, how he had heard about Jesus, what his hopes and fears were. I went back to the Bible text and imagined the situation… he’d rung Jesus from a call box at lunch time… they were due to meet in a new Thai restaurant in town, where people hopefully would not recognize him… what were his thoughts as Jesus talked? and what might have been his response? And then I thought of other New Testament people. In today’s setting, might Joseph (husband of Mary, mother of Jesus) have played football with Jesus? Taken him to school? What might it have been like to have been there when Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple? And what about the guard at Jesus’ tomb that first Easter Day, as he really wanted to do some DIY?
I worked on a few stories, showed them to some friends, who reacted positively, and passed them to Mark Woods, editor of the Baptist Times, who responded enthusiastically and in due course published well over a dozen of these stories.
So here we are: encounters that Jesus had with 52 men as recorded in the New Testament, put into contemporary settings as the individuals themselves might have retold them.
I have in mind two audiences:
Those unfamiliar with the New Testament record, who perhaps dismiss the validity of Jesus Christ and his claims. Many books have been written on the evidence of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and I don’t want to add to them. Instead I’ve zeroed in on human character, which hasn’t changed in the 2,000 years or so since Jesus walked on earth. I invite you to read these stories and allow Jesus to challenge you.
Those who are familiar with the New Testament. You know the stories, their content and their form. Perhaps you are so familiar with them that they have lost some of their impact. Come with me and transfer these stories to our present-day culture.
Our response
My ultimate aim in retelling these stories is to see ourselves – our own lives – and to allow Jesus to meet with us. As we encounter Jesus, how are we changed? What is our response to Jesus Christ coming to us? Each one of us is different. Will we join him on our own unique adventure of trusting him?

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Martin Manser

Martin Manser, editor, led a team of Bible teachers and pastors to create The Bible Book by Book. Martin Manser has been a professional reference book editor for more than thirty years. He has compiled or edited more than 200 reference books, particularly English-language dictionaries and Bible reference books. He is also a language trainer and consultant with national companies and organizations. He and his wife have two children. The team that wrote The Bible Book by Book was David Barratt, Mike Beaumont, Pieter Lalleman, Richard Littledale, Debra Reid, Andrew Stobart, and Derek Williams.

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