Nehemiah, the young son of a Jewish woman, a weaver from Jerusalem, is born and raised among the Jews who didn’t return to Jerusalem from the Exile. Educated by Rabbi Kagba, one of the magi present at Jesus’ birth thirty years earlier, Nehemiah grows up with the expectation of a soon-coming Messiah. Could the Yeshua of Nazareth, who is walking the earth, reportedly doing miracles, be that Messiah? When young Nehemiah must travel the long caravan road to Jerusalem, he is charged with an unusual mission—to carry a mysterious object back to the holy city of Jerusalem… an object whose reappearance heralds the Messiah’s arrival. Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem just as the final events of Jesus’ earthly ministry are coming to a climax: the Feast of Dedication, the Triumphal Entry, the last cleansing of the Temple, and culminating at the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Only Nehemiah understands the true sacrifice that is to come as he makes the cup worthy of his Savior.
Bodie and Brock Thoene are among the most popular of Christian fiction authors. They’ve written over 65 books, and several people have recommended them to me over the years. After reading two of their books, however, I have to say I don’t share that love.
Take This Cup is an enchanting tale that asks what if the cup of Joseph was also used at the Last Supper. It’s definitely supernatural in parts as young Nehemiah is guided in his quest to take an ancient cup to the Messiah in Jerusalem. Through dreams, he learns of the cup’s history with the assistance of one of the previous owners of the cup. There are also vivid descriptions of a Jerusalem preparing for the upcoming Passover, and plenty of familiar characters such as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
So, where did I have problems with this book? Firstly, I couldn’t quite believe that Jeremiah was only eight. I realize that children grew up quicker in ancient times, but this child is making a journey of over 1000 miles on his own. He must make decisions on which people he can trust and travel with. My nephew is 10. I can’t picture him making this journey. Nehemiah also sounds very mature in many of his conversations with adults. The only times I could accept his age was when he was playing with other children.
My second problem is scriptural. We are all familiar with Jesus saying that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. In this novel, the writers substitute ‘rope’ for ‘camel,’ have Nehemiah believe it’s an issue of understanding Aramaic, and then have him describe why a rope makes more sense. This was something that grabbed my attention. Where did they get this from? I looked through several Bible translations and couldn’t find one instance of rope. I also brought this up in conversation with other people, including my Pastor. None had come across this before.
Take This Cup is the second book in the Jerusalem Chronicles. Book one ended on Palm Sunday. This one also describes Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem and advances the story to the Last Supper. How many books will it take to reach the Resurrection? Will I be able to stay with the series until that point? Those are two answers I don’t have.
Thank you to Zondervan and BookLookBloggers for my complimentary copy of Take This Cup, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read Take This Cup? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publication Date: 25 March 2014
Page Count: 400