But the incredible thing about this story is it’s part biographical, part fiction and I’m left wondering how much of it was fiction.
Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, the one that Luke described “Satan entered” moments before he committed his betrayal. The gospels never tell us exactly what the discussion between Judas and the Chief Priests amounted to, but Ms Lee, having completed extensive research, provides an insight. And boy, was I shocked. I can’t say any more without revealing too much, so will leave it there.
The novel is written in first person as we see, feel, hear and smell the key moments of Judas life. We meet a man who loves Jesus deeply, so much so, he struggles with the apparent ‘lunacy’ of so many of his Master’s actions and statements. Ms Lee takes us into Judas’ heart to catch a glimpse of what it would have been like following this man, and experiencing the rebuke and ridicule by so many including one’s family.
We get to see Jesus’ “wildness” first hand in the Temple; His tenderness in the healings of the leper and the paralytic. We experience the wonder and amazement of His walking on water, the feeding of the thousands as basket after basket just keep being filled. I would have loved to spend more time in the Bethany house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus with the disciples on their way to Jerusalem, especially as the gospels regale us with Judas’ admonishment of Mary’s extravagance in emptying the entire bottle of expensive perfume.
I found myself asking the same questions as Judas, struggling to reconcile an intense desire to surrender everything to Jesus whilst flee Him due to my own limited understanding of His sovereignty and fear of what would become of me as His follower.
The true wonder of this novel is I am left with a greater longing to draw closer to the one who was betrayed: Jesus. Congratulations Tosca Lee on a remarkable novel.