This is the introductory episode of Jesus in Books. In this episode I discuss Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin and share a few insights related to the book (like why Jesus gave His first parable standing on a boat).
LINKS AND RESOURCES
- Why I prefer KJV: other versions omit the word ‘fasting’ and I wonder what else they leave out
- Other translations of “We never saw it on this fashion” in Mark 2:12
Thanks for joining me on Jesus in Books with Jason Comely and I am Jason Comely. Just to give you a little bit of an introduction here as to what Jesus in Books is about. This is the very first episode.
The majority of Christians including myself believe that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world and that each of us will stand to be judged by him the last day. So in an attempt to learn more about the life and ministry of Jesus, as his personality traits. Perhaps even a look into the psychoanalytic look into the mind of Jesus I’ve decided to read every book I can about him.
I’ll review these books on this podcast and share any insights I may have gleaned from these books.
This being the very first episode I’ve decided to discuss the book Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin. It’s a good book I’ll explain why.
A little bit about James Martin, he is a Jesuit priest, he’s editor at the Jesuit Magazine America and author of several books – a number of books actually. The ones I recognize is the Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything and Between Heaven and Mirth. He’s written much more.
So again this is the very first episode, I’m not a seasoned podcaster, not by any stretch so I hope that you’ll enjoy this first podcast and suffer through what probably be many short comings of this podcast. But hopefully you’ll benefit from it so again we’re discussing Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin.
And the goal of his book, he states in the introduction, is to look at Jesus through the lens of his pilgrimage to Israel land. He goes with his friend George and visits Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and many other sites that the Savior himself visited during His earthly ministry.
So where to start. Let’s start at the beginning chapter one and that’s actually the chapter I like the least just because he just discussing his plans and how his plans sort of came together to visit the holy land, traveling on a plane – these kinds of things I was not interested in. I guess it was definitely necessary to sort of set up the story but for me I didn’t enjoy that part and I was really wondering what kind of book I was going to be reading.
Now just to let you know, with many of the books but not all I will be reading both the kindle version and/or the paperback version and I may also be listening to it on audio book. So to speed it up and to keep the flow going as well. There are parts I’ll listen to and then I’ll go home and read from the Kindle version. I really like reading from the Kindle or Kobo because I can highlight certain things and reread them later.
Right now I’m exclusively using a Kindle, Kobo is also good though and I might get one of those later on. So yeah, they have that in sync feature where you listen to the audio book and then you can pick up right where you left off with the kindle and vice versa. Amazon has that syncing feature, but for the most part you know I’ll just refer to it as reading.
If I refer to it as listening it’s probably because there’s something about the audio quality or the narration that is worth discussing and sometimes the narrator can really make or break a book so that’s why I like reading the Kindle as well.
So it definitely got better for me in the second chapter. Early on he introduces me to Ignatian Contemplation – it’s a method that pastors and writers use to imagine, to envision what it was really like at the time of these gospel stories. So you imagine yourself in the story and you imagine the surroundings and the smells and the sights. In that way you can often pick up more details and get a deeper understanding of what happened. I think he does that here to help us get more out of some of these bible stories.
Now I just recently I finished Joseph Grizone’s book on Jesus. Grizone does that better, much better I should say and James Martin I don’t think he doesn’t really try to do it as this is a different book.
Again this is Martin going to the sites and he did he does that really well. I really got lost in the book with him – I got lost when he got lost trying to find various sites and I could feel the overbearing son of the Middle East and the dust; I could just see these things as he as he described them. So I was I was really drawn in and I thought that was great, I probably saved myself a ticket to the Holy Land after reading this book because it’s really great. In that regard I think it’s worth it just for that if you have any kind of curiosity as to what it might be like and obviously what I’m thinking in my mind it’s probably totally different then what it really is but again I definitely got a sense that I was along with him.
So the things that I liked about A Pilgrimage, is that he translated back to the original Greek. Mostly to get more emotional impact so he would refer to Greek to sort of make us really understand the emotional impact of something. I’m not going to get into I do recommend this book and I’m not going to read passages from these books just because Fair Use intellectual property rights – the legality of fair use I’m not really sure if I can legally read passages from books.
Fair use is a legal defense meaning if you’re using fair use (as a legal defence), it means that you’re probably being sued and that’s something I’m not really keen on. And I’m not keen on giving away spoilers either but I am very much interested in sharing real insights into who Jesus was.
Now there are some books and stories that I’ve read that I think really do that well and have really made me feel like I know the Savior better. I understand his character better and it’s changed my life and so I hope that this podcast does that for you as well.
So he uses ignatian contemplation, maybe a technique that we can use when in our scripture study to really immerse ourselves in the scripture and in these stories. So when he goes to these sites there’s certain things that he realizes or learns like when Jesus preached his first parable from the boat and if you remember what the first parable was it was the parable of the four soils.
Martin explains why Jesus preached his first parable from the boat because sound travels better over water.
In the back of my mind I wondered why He climbed on to the boat and start preaching. I thought He could stand a little bit taller perhaps. But I think you know the number of people that were following Him – He was attracting multitudes. He was really truly a phenomenon like none other and so the number of people that went to hear Jesus and to be healed by Him would have been really impressive by any standard, especially in the day where you don’t have microphone or any kind of way to amplify sound.
And that was another thing too is – the crowds – that’s something that Martin really captured that that I really was able to get over the scriptures too is the thrill and the astonishment and the amazement that these multitude had – this is when he’s going back to the Greek. When Jesus did these miracles they were astounded, they were speechless, they were shouting in amazement, in wonder. He (Jesus) really got these the people just completely whipped up and in excitement.
A good example of that is the story in Mark 2:1-12 where these four friends to get the attention of Jesus who is inside this house, they climb on top of the house and lift their friend up and then they tear the roof off of the house to lower their friend down so that Jesus can heal them.
And just bringing attention to that so you know what an amazing story, when you look at that really closely you know how much his friends must have loved – these four men, these four people – must have loved their friend to do that and the kind of drastic measures you have to go through just to be noticed by Jesus. And here they are, ripping off the roof and making this hole. You can imagine dust and rubble falling down into this house and them lowering him in, and it says when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic son “your sins are forgiven”. Even Jesus sees their great faith.
It’s interesting how He said “your sins are forgiven”. So along with being – assuming he was – healed but that his sins where also forgiven. I’m sure I’m going to have to look back on that scripture and make sure to follow up what I said, was he healed or not. I don’t actually have the scripture open but I could actually because I always have scriptures nearby. So let’s just look at that; now there’s three different accounts of that – there’s Mark, it’s also in Matthew 9 and Luke 5 but we’ll just go to Mark here if you’ll just bear with me for a second. And we’ll find out whether or not it mentions if you was healed or not…
So again I’m going to be riffing on this podcast, I hope that you’ll bear with me and even enjoy… It says:
“Arise and take up thy bed and go thy way into thy house and immediately he rolls took up the bed and went forth before them all, in so much that they were all amazed and glorified God saying we never saw it on this fashion.” Mark 2:12
So there you go, I can just imagine how they were all amazed and glorified God saying we never saw it on this fashion, we’ve never seen this before. So that that really moved me.
Another thing that moved me was in a Gethsemane. He mentions in Gethsemane I don’t know if I have notes on this – when Jesus confides to three Apostles Peter, James and John “my soul is sorrowful unto death”, Martin’s says it was like he was saying that he was so sad he said – it’s like saying that I’m so sad I could die. So in Gethsemane of course he took on all our sins and all our suffering and bore all our griefs and said I’m feeling so sad I could die. So that riffed with me.
Now there was certain things that I didn’t like about the book. He did use some personal stories and anecdotes to help illustrate some of these gospel principles and they were a little flat I thought for me. I didn’t really find any kind of emotional impact in that and again this is entirely subjective.
There probably is, I think it was a really enjoyable book overall, I gave it four stars on Goodreads. I definitely recommend that book. Now there’s a lot of other insights to be gained. So I encourage you to pick up the book. You can buy the book from Amazon, I’ll have an affiliate link going there so if you want to support the podcast you can do that and maybe you help offset some of the costs that I have running this podcast.
This is a labour of love and I hope you enjoyed this first episode of Jesus in Books, please let me know what you thought of it and subscribe on whatever podcast platform that you use.
If you want to suggest a book. You can do so by leaving a review at iTunes and suggesting a book from there. Or if there’s another place where you can leave reviews, review the podcast and suggest a book that you would like me to cover in an upcoming podcast. You can message me on Goodreads, and that way I am aware of you.
Thank you very much for listening. God bless!