Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Putnam, Feb 2010, $24.95
In Bet Guvrin, eight years old Levi diligently studies to become a priest. He is a happy child who loves God, his parents and adores his baby brother Chavivi. One night soldiers of Herod the Great arrive at his home and kill his sibling; as they have all killed all infant males since the Magi claimed the Christ was born. Herod insists he is the King of the Jews and not some pretender.
Levi still believed in God but his adulation turned to loathing as he blames the Lord for his baby brother’s death. He rejects the priesthood and instead becomes a Roman tax collector. His people detest him as he becomes wealthy at their expense, but he feels empty inside until he meets Jesus. He becomes his disciple and changes his name to Matthew and follows him loyally. Jesus tells him he will feel the pain Matthew felt when He follows his Father’s wishes.
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins use a contemporary interpretation to tell Matthew’s Story, a disciple who transformed from youthful pious believer, to odious sinner to saint thanks in part to Jesus. The use of modern day vernacular makes it easier on the audience to understand the message and power of Christ especially in altering Matthew’s life; though in fairness some readers might question free will. As with Mark, Luke and John, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins provide a strong biblical biographical fictional account of a disciple of Jesus.