Series: Tales That Tell The Truth #18
Published by Good Book Company on February 1, 2020
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
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This beautifully illustrated hardback book by singer and TV presenter Randall Goodgame is based on the parable in Luke 12 v 35-38.
It teaches children that Jesus will return and when he does there will be an amazing party where ... SURPRISE! ... he will serve his faithful servants! Jesus didn't tell us when that party will be, but we can make sure that we're ready for it by loving him and loving his people while we wait.
This brilliantly colorful and dramatic picture book emphasizes the joy of following Jesus. At the beginning, the author writes about Jesus’s identity and ministry, and then the story shifts. The middle of this book retells a lesser-known parable from Luke 12:35-38, and the vibrant illustrations emphasize the surprising plot twist. In this story, servants try to stay awake to greet their master when he returns home, but when he arrives, he dresses himself for service. He has them sit down at the table, and he comes to serve them. The book asks, “What kind of master would love like that? What kind of God would choose to be a servant?” The rest of the book explains that Jesus is that master, and summarizes his ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension.
The last two pages talk about Jesus’s return, teaching children that we have “plenty to do while we wait,” just like the servants in the story. Jesus and the Very Big Surprise provides specific ideas of how we can love and serve others like Jesus, and concludes on a joyful note about awaiting his return. Parents who grew up in church contexts that used fear tactics to inspire conversions may feel leery of a book about Christ’s return, but in this case, they don’t need to. Nothing about this book is manipulative, and nothing about it inspires fear or anxiety. This book bursts with love and joy, and encourages its readers to delight in Jesus, eagerly await his return, and love their neighbors in the meantime.
Jesus and the Very Big Surprise is biblical, faithful, and full of joy and encouragement. Also, even though the parable is adapted into a Western context with a manor home and carriage, the illustrator accurately depicts Jesus’s ethnicity throughout the book, which is much-needed change from the norm. This is an excellent resource to share with kids, and the vivid text will make it fun to read out loud. This book conveys strong and sincere excitement, and it is a wonderful resource to introduce children to Jesus’s sacrificial love and the hope and joy that we have in him.
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