I’ve spoken to you about him before, you know … Mr. Benjamin Nelson. I forget when we met, but he lives in New Jersey and maybe when I heard that, a tender spot in my heart opened up because New Jersey, you see, is in the Tri-State area and that, of course, means New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. You can try to argue that your Tri-State area is Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio or even Arizona, Nevada, and California; but you’d be wrong. We’re special in the northeast. Yep, I said it. Special.
Anywho, this isn’t about the rarified air of the northeast and how even though New Yorkers, Jerseyites, and Nutmeggers are so vastly different we still manage to have a genuine affinity for each other; it’s about Ben, and a little book he has written and published called Encounters with Jesus.
There have been a number of occasions through the years when I’ve pointed you to his blog AnotherRedLetterDay, and several of those have been when Ben has taken a story in the Bible and re-told it through a first-person account. You’ll recall that I did this a few years ago for a Passion Week series where I took the seven utterances that Jesus made from the cross and each day wrote as his mother, Mary. It was grueling and fascinating and tearfully exhausting and completely enlightening. I recommend an exercise like this for any blogger. But Ben has taken this art form to whole new level and captured 40 of his stories to be bound together on the digital pages of your ebook reader or in the paper of a book, and I absolutely urge you to give it look.
Remember the woman who had a bleeding issue and touched the hem of the robe of Jesus believing – in fact, knowing – that if she could just do that she would be healed? Ben lovingly tells this tale from her perspective and must have had some help from the his wife as well as the Holy Spirit in order to capture the anguish the woman must have felt before that moment her fingertips brushed the cloak of our Lord.
Or have you ever thought about what it would have been like to be one of the Roman soldiers that crucified Jesus? Having to hear the achingly beautiful words He uttered while He hung there dying?
From before His birth to after His death, Ben chooses 40 wonderful stories to retell in his winsome, captivating way. Most of the time Ben adopts the persona of a known character in the Biblical story (and Ben always includes the scripture reference for further reading) but other times he creates a new character in which to react to the events as they occurred. He does this in one of my favorite stories when he introduces us to Eli and his wife Rebecca in the chapter entitled “Healer.”
The tale is found in Luke 4:18-41 and because it covers several different events, Ben becomes Eli, a man who’d lost his sight in a kiln accident 15 years prior. Ben expertly retells the story as Eli allowing us to feel the wonder of listening to Jesus preach with authority in the synagogue (I got goosebumps) and bringing us, later in the day, to a place where Jesus interacts with and heals many people. When Jesus reaches down and touches Eli, who actually only asks for sight in his one remaining eyeball. At his humility I began to tear up and then, when Jesus gives abundantly more than what is asked for or even imagined (Ephesians 3:20), Eli receives sight in his remaining eye and is blessed with a new eyeball where none had been. Well, I will just admit to you that I wept in awe and wonder and gratitude for the love of our Savior.
I’m certain you will have hours of enjoyment re-exploring these stories from the Bible and I’m pretty sure you’ll never read the Bible the same way again! Please consider helping out this new author and enjoy a new take on the word of God. I loved it and know you will too!
Here are two links to help you on your way … please know that I receive nothing from your click-through!
For Kindle and Paperback editions: http://www.amazon.com/Encounters-Jesus-Forty-through-touched/dp/0692403507/
To order the paperback directly: https://www.createspace.com/5307731
You can also follow Ben on Twitter @MrBND