The First Time We Saw Him: Awakening to the Wonder of Jesus – Gospel Stories Retold for Today by Matt Mikalatos provides an entertaining retelling of familiar gospel stories in a modern context. The author wrestles through the daunting task of presenting key events in the Gospels in a way that could keep the reader from saying, “I’ve heard this story before.”
I did not envy the task Mikalatos took upon himself with this project as it is all too easy to sensationalize the stories or hit high levels of “Christian cheese” when trying to modernize Bible passages. Overall, he did a good job in avoiding either element and creating captivating stories. For sure, there were some chapters that I found to be unsuccessful at “awakening [me] to the wonder of Jesus,” but those may be the very examples that strike others the hardest and fill them with a renewed vigor for Jesus.
While I found the retelling of the stories of the Gospels to be thoughtful and helpful in my thought processes of how to retell the stories myself, I ended up appreciating the author’s comments after the stories to be most helpful. It is through these passages the author presents gems of insight into the passages. In this, The First Time We Saw Him is kept from being a novel retelling of Bible stories and becomes a helpful tool in looking at these passages afresh.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggerswww.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.