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The Friends of Jesus


The Friends of Jesus

New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury presents another title in her Life-Changing Bible Study series with THE FRIENDS OF JESUS. While many viewers were enthralled with the “A.D. The Bible Continues” television series that highlighted the events and biblical characters found in the book of Acts, readers are sure to respond with equal enthusiasm to Kingsbury’s book. She brings to life six of Jesus’ friends and how they met Him, interacted with Him, failed Him, struggled to understand Him, and how each one eventually gave their lives over to Him.

Readers will value how in depth Kingsbury goes into the inner thoughts, emotions and reactions of each character she depicts. In fact, her details read “so real” that readers will find themselves feeling similar emotions to these individuals as they are forced to face their own inner demons and are confronted by Jesus’ claims of being the Messiah.

"Kingsbury is a dynamic author, and she’s proving that she can take even the slimmest facts found in the Bible and build life-changing storylines around them."

Kingsbury presents Simon the Leper and weaves his story of contracting leprosy so vividly that readers will cringe as they read about his own horror of succumbing to this unclean disease and how he may have reacted to the news when he was told to leave the city. His suffering is so intense that when he finally meets Jesus and is healed, it is with an immense sigh of relief on his behalf. Martha and Mary’s story of losing their beloved younger brother Lazarus is another stark tale when all the forces of life and death mingle with faith and doubt. Again, Martha is wrestling with what Jesus told them, and the events surrounding her brother’s death come to a head when she sees Jesus again and He brings Lazarus back to life.

Readers will also learn more about Jairus and his 12-year-old daughter who lay dying (then does die). His own doubts about who Jesus claimed to be are revealed when he has nowhere else to go but to the Savior. Jairus contemplates everything he’s heard about Him, but does he believe the stories? Crisis once again forces the hand and the heart of this man who earnestly cries to Jesus to bring her back…and He does. Equally as moving are the accounts of Mary Magdalene, who was possessed by demons; Peter’s up-and-down experience with Jesus culminating in his redemption; and how John’s pride was transformed into true humility.

Each of these biblical characters’ accounts are fleshed out in story form by Kingsbury so that readers can richly experience their struggles in a more profound manner. She has a way of bringing exuberance and enthusiasm to her characters’ words and actions that enriches the whole scene with lively humanity.

Closing out THE FRIENDS OF JESUS are questions for individual reflection or group discussions that will aid readers in a deeper takeaway of each story. Kingsbury is a dynamic author, and she’s proving that she can take even the slimmest facts found in the Bible and build life-changing storylines around them.

Reviewed by Michele Howe on July 22, 2015

The Friends of Jesus
by Karen Kingsbury