LaHaye, Tim and Jerry B. Jenkins. John's Story: The Last Eyewitness. New York: Berkley Praise, 2006. Print.
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I've had this book for four years now. It's been quietly sitting on the pile waiting for me to "find" time to read it. I've often been at church and think, "I really need to read that book! I might understand more about the sermon/lesson/comment." Well, last weekend was the "right" time. I took it with me to Six Flags (oh, I took my daughter and a few of her friends, too). While the girls waiting in eternal lines in the heat, I found myself on a bench in the shade enjoying this fictionalized story of John.
The story was so believable that I had to remind myself that this is fiction. It starts in Rome, AD 95 then goes back a year when John was in Ephesus (almost 20 chapters of the book take place during this one year--when John is telling his stories of Jesus to Polycarp to write down in order to share with the world). Chapter 23 moves ahead to AD 96. After the "account" of John's life, the book includes the transcribed stories "The Words of John" that we now know as John, 1, 2, 3 John, and Revelation. I didn't read these as part of the book.
I'm now ready to start my Revelations bible study that I've been planning to do all year. I have some background and am not afraid to read this book in the Bible that has scared me my entire life.
I've learned Mark & Luke each have a story in this series as well. It might be a few years, but I'm sure I'll get them read when I "find the right time" to read them.
Some things I marked in the book:
"In the first, he [Paul] cautioned against becoming enamored of philosophy and vain deceit. In essence, he was saying that those who enjoy considering every new wave of doctrine run the risk of being blown about by the wind" (LeHaye 30). I think many people do this. I've attended my church for over 20 years. I've seen people come, leave, come back, leave. I've seen other friends "church hop" for various reasons. I compare this quote to the "non-denomination" churches that are turning into mega churches. Lots of thoughts with these two sentences. This also connects to something I marked a little later in the book when John and Cerinthus are exchanging words. Cerinthus proposes that "the number three is key to all the mysteries" and that he has been "mentored by angels." The people chant to hear the new. John's friend Ignatius says, "The crowd has spoken. Desist in trying to cast your pearls before swine" (LaHaye 47). Often, as humans, we want the new because we think it must be better.
Another thing I marked: "'He [Jesus] tried to tell us many times that He had been sent only to do the will of His Father, and He even made clear that this would mean His own death. But we heard only what we wanted to hear'" (LaHaye 83). Yep. How often this happens between people, but I also find it between me and God. I don't always hear what is being said.
On page 99, I had to mark an entire paragraph. "Followers of the Christ feel compelled to draw others into His kingdom, and yet few do all the work themselves. Some plant the seed of salvation, telling someone of the gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life through the work Christ accomplished on the cross. Someone else may till that soil by explaining the Scriptures or living an exemplary life before that person. And finally yet someone else may harvest the crop by leading that one to become a believer" (LaHaye 99). I can see my own spiritual mentors with this description.