Monday, March 26, 2012

Simon And The Easter Miracle by Mary Joslin

Recommendation: * (1 Star)
This book falls far short of telling the Easter story.

The book opens with a man named Simon (Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26) coming into the city loaded with goods to sell at the market. When he arrives there he finds it very busy due to the festival and he also sees a large group of angry people surrounding a man who looks like he has been beaten. He is carrying a cross and is obviously on his way to be crucified. As Simon tries to avoid this group, he is pulled in and ordered by a soldier to carry the cross for the man. He has a brief conversation with the beaten man, but really just wants to do as he is ordered and quickly get away and head home. On Sunday (2 days later) he finds the eggs in his barn are hatched but empty and no chicks are around and when he goes to the orchard 12 doves are in the trees.

Positives: The story started out with some promise. Many have speculated on the life of Simon of Cyrene, who is only briefly mentioned in Scripture, and I found the opening of this story to be interesting.

Negatives: This story is a disappointing and sad representation of Christian children's literature. According to this story the miracle of Easter was the empty eggs Simon found on Sunday morning in his barn and the doves in his orchard. My 6 year old knows the Easter story from Scripture and was completely confused by what this story meant. It does not mention Jesus by name and does not tell the story of his death and resurrection. Also, in the story Simon asks Jesus (referred to only as 'the man') "What are you supposed to have done to deserve to die?" Jesus' response was to shrug slightly and say "Preaching a message of peace..." While I'm trying not to read too much into this exchange, it seemed to convey that Jesus wasn't exactly sure why He was being crucified. And, while he did preach a message of peace, this was not the charge brought against Him at His crucifixion. The charge brought against Him was that He claimed to be the Son of God (Matt. 26: 57-68, Mark 14:60-65).

Talking Points: Open your Bible to one of the gospel accounts of Jesus' death and resurrection (Matt. 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-21) and talk about the real miracle of Easter - that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a holy life on this earth, suffered and died on the cross, shedding His blood, to pay the penalty for sin so that the wrath of God could be satisfied. He rose again on the 3rd day showing his victory over death and that through Him we can have peace with God and live with God for eternity in heaven. I would also talk about the fact that Jesus' name was not mentioned in the story and how misleading this is. If you want to tell a story about salvation and new life in Christ you must use the name of Jesus. Acts 4:12 tells us that there is no other name by which we must be saved and Phil. 2:9-11 tells us that Jesus is the name above all names and that at His name (Jesus) every knee will bow. Please teach your kids that the object of their faith is Jesus and that He alone offers salvation.

Age Level: 2-6 years of age

I was given a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for this review.

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