For my Blogging A to Z post today, I’d like to tell you about a book I read that had a pretty significant impact on me. That book is called Lamb and it is written by Christopher Moore.
The premise of the book is that it is a gospel chronicling the life of Jesus Christ according to his childhood friend Biff. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Biff. And yes, in many respects it is a comedy. Because the book is comedic and Christ’s best friend is named Biff, many people would say that this book is sacrilegious. Once you delve into reading the book and realize that there is also cursing and sex in it, some people would immediately brand it as irreverent, evil, sinful trash. But I contend that it is not. And I’ll explain why.
The book explains why Biff was never mentioned in the gospels, so if you’re wondering how he even came to be, well, you’ll learn that. Biff meets Christ when they are young boys and he tells us all about what Jesus was like as a young kid and all the adventures they went on together. We also get to learn about what it was like to be a follower of Jesus as he was arrested and crucified, which is where the book takes a turn from the comedic.
There have ben movies depicting the life of Christ, graphically showing us the sacrifice He made for us by dying on the cross. As Christians, we are told how Christ died for our sins and expected to find a deep appreciation for that sacrifice made out of love. I admit, I do my best to appreciate that but it is very difficult for me to wrap my brain around the concept of Jesus allowing Himself to be crucified to save me. It is incredibly difficult to identify with the level of pain, agony, and sacrifice He made on my behalf. I think that must be a struggle for many Christians, not just me.
But here is where the power of this book lies, in my opinion: in Biff’s experience. As he (and all the other disciples of Christ) watch things unfold, see their friend Jesus allowing Himself to be handed over and tortured, they panic. They feel fear. They are terrified at the thought of losing their friend and they try everything they can to prevent it. Their anguish is evident as they watch Jesus die a horrible death on the cross. They are nearly out of their minds with fear and panic and rage and helplessness. It is incredibly emotional. And I was amazed how, as I read that part of the book, how I was feeling the same things. It was at that moment I had the deepest understanding and appreciation for what Jesus did for me. I can’t identify with the way He suffered, but I could identify with how his friends and family felt, their sadness and grief. And because I was able to identify with them, and I could feel what they were feeling, I had an inkling of what it must have been like to lose Christ and that made me appreciate in a new way the sacrifice made for my soul. I appreciated Jesus so much more after reading this book.
So if a book can strengthen my relationship with Jesus, how could it be sacrilegious?