Iscariot by Tosca Lee – a Review

FYI, after you read this review you will find contest rules at the end. If you would like to win a copy of Iscariot by Tosca Lee, please join in the fun!

How do you add suspense to one of the best known stories in the world? We all know the basics: Jesus was a teacher who went around healing people, and performing miracles, signs and wonders. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind about whether or not He was the Messiah. Well, except for the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the political leaders and perhaps some of His disciples. Then, after Jesus arrived in Jerusalem in what we know as the Triumphal Entry the crowds pretty well let people know that Jesus was the Messiah. He was then betrayed by Judas and crucified.

So how do you add suspense to that story? In the book Iscariot, Tosca Lee invites you to re-examine everything you know about Jesus and the relationship with His disciples; especially the only one that Jesus called friend – Judas. This novel is historical fiction, but you have a hard time remembering the fiction part of that as she weaves a realistic story of the life of Judas from a young boy until the time he ends up killing himself after betraying Jesus. As she writes about the life of Judas the question she asks at the beginning of the novel continues to stick with you: “Would I have betrayed Jesus? Would you have done the same thing?”

The automatic answer to that question, of course, is “Never!” Yet, as we follow the story, an unwilling sympathy for Judas arises. You can’t help but wonder if Tosca Lee has in mind a new version of the story; one where Judas doesn’t betray Jesus! In the end, the story doesn’t change. As you read, though, your outlook on Judas changes. Rather than seeing him as the evil moneygrubber that we all instinctively believe him to be, he becomes an almost sympathetic protagonist; a tragic hero in the true sense of the phrase.

I have no doubt that once you read Iscariot, that you will never be able to sit through a “typical” sermon about Judas without wanting to yell out at the preacher, “But have you thought about….” The scariest thing about this book is that as you read it, you feel the dust on your feet, you smell the unwashed bodies all around you, and you realize that as strong in your faith as you may be, you could easily have betrayed Jesus in the same set of circumstances. Then when we come back to reality, we realize that we betray Jesus daily by our thoughts and actions. You can continue in your safe little bubble if you don’t read this book or you can confront yourself as you let the words force you to examine your own relationship with Jesus Christ.

So here are the contest rules. You can be entered to win a copy of Iscariot by Tosca Lee by doing these simple tasks. 1) Follow this blog. 2) Leave a comment here. Somewhere in your comment let me know which disciple you would like to talk with and why. Your user name should have contact information in case you win. If it doesn’t, keep checking back. 3) Have a friend come by and comment saying something like, “John asked me to read this and say hello.” If they would like to win also, they need to give you credit for bringing them here.

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