"What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! "
So many times when I was young, we would sing this hymn during worship service. I never really gave much thoughts to the words back then, being a young teenager who was worried about so many more things going on in my life. However, these words came rushing back to me many times while reading Karen Kingsbury's latest publication "The Friends of Jesus".
Karen Kingsbury is without a doubt one of my favorite authors and she didn't disappoint with this latest addition. Karen is a true master of bring a story to life and she has been given such a wonderful gift to bring stories of faith to her readers. "The Friends of Jesus" is the second book in the "Life Changing Bible Story" series, the first being "The Family of Jesus" which is equally wonderful.
Much like the first book of this series, Karen takes Biblical characters and weaves a story together that really digs deep into who each of these characters were and how their lives intertwined with Jesus. While she takes many liberties in doing so, she adheres to Biblical facts and doesn't change what the Bible tells us but instead builds a story revolving around what we already know.
This particular volume covers the stories of 6 well known people - Simon the Leper, Martha (sister to Lazarus), Jarius (the Leader of the Galilean synagogue), Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John. Each narrative lays out these peoples faults for all to see, only to turn around and show how Jesus's compassion and friendship with each one changed their lives. The love that the Savior had for each one of these people, each whom he held dear to his heart, displays the love he has for each of us even thought we are all flawed, just as they were. You can't help but be able to identify with at least one of the characters when reflecting on your own faith.
If you love the Bible and want to dig deeper, this is a great way to immerse yourself. There is also a Bible study at the end of the book for personal reflection or to provide a launching pad for a group study that coincides with each character.