Book Review- Becoming the Son: An Autobiography of Jesus
Author C. D. Baker says in the Preface to Becoming the Son: An Autobiography of Jesus that, "The events in this story either happened according to the biblical record, or could have happened according to clues in the biblical texts, the historical record, or reasoned observation." It was good to know this up front. I have read most of the apocryphal texts on Jesus' boyhood, early life, and those that are supposed to supplement the Biblical texts, such as the Gospel of Thomas. Those extra-biblical texts are full of crazy stories about Jesus the child and have no basis in the truth.
Becoming the Son opens after the resurrection of Jesus. Our narrator for the story, Adlai bar Ammitai, and a few other of Jesus' disciples have a post-resurrection encounter with him. Adlai was not one of the Twelve but was one of the many other fringe disciples that Jesus had.
Later, as they sat around a campfire beside the Sea of Galilee, Jesus' followers urge him to tell them his story, the whole story. What happens next is an incredible look at what might have been true for Jesus' childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. There is nothing far-fetched here like we find in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Baker, instead, thoughtfully gives us an idea of what it might have really been like for Jesus growing up and coming to terms with who he was.
We see the tension in Jesus' home between him and his brothers, especially James. This fits right in with the Gospel accounts. We feel Jesus' pain, as well as the shame that never went away because of the circumstances of his birth. Even as an adult, we see in the Gospels that Jesus was called the "son of fornication." The idea of the virgin birth was as crazy then as it would be now for someone to try and explain.
I have always wondered how Jesus became aware of who he was. Of course, hearing about his birth from his mother would have helped, but how did Jesus know that he was the One? In Becoming the Son, we hear Jesus in his own words tell how he wrestled with these things and how he came to know what God was going to require of him.
For me, hearing Jesus describe the events leading up to the crucifixion, as well as the horrific event itself, really impacted me. It is one thing to read about it in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are inspired and have led people to Christ for centuries. It was quite another thing, though, to hear Jesus tell what he was feeling physically, spiritually, emotionally, as he suffered and died.
And then, of course, the resurrection. In the novel, Jesus describes it like this. "I was startled out of nothingness by a blast of trumpets. Breath rushed into my lungs; my limbs loosed with new strength; my mind was abruptly jolted by all knowledge; my spirit so filled with Heaven's joy that I sat up and tore the shrouds away, laughing!"
As we see in the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection, Jesus' followers had trouble at first believing that Jesus really was alive again. The narrator in the novel, Adlai bar Ammitai, puts it like this. "He lives. Two words. Two words to proclaim all things forever changed? Imagine containing the sea with two spoons or gathering the deserts under two bushels or collecting the stars between two tents? No. These two words are not enough. But would many words be more able to capture the incomprehensible glory of that moment?"
Check out Becoming the Son: An Autobiography of Jesus. It will deepen your faith and give you fresh perspective on who Jesus is and and a better understanding of his earthly life and ministry.
David and Annie are serving the Lord in Brazil. They are training leaders and helping build great local churches. You can be a part of their ministry! Just click here to get involved. Obrigado!