Sometimes the Bible leaves out the details readers would love to know. How mortified was the woman called out publicly after touching Jesus’s robe? Why did the Samaritan woman have so many husbands, anyway? We may never get the answers to those and similar questions, but a new book from Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth visualizes what could have happened.
In The Day I Met Jesus, which releases this week, five women found in the Gospel accounts share their fictionalized “diaries” that recount their lives and encounters with Jesus. “I wanted each woman to tell her own story,” says Frank.
My friend Kelley Mathews (remember her lovely guest post?) got a chance to interview Frank and Mary about their book, and I’m delighted that she asked if she could share that on this blog: an inside peek into the inspiration for the book and the process of writing it together.
KM: Why did you write this book?
Frank: The Day I Met Jesus (2015) is the second book in what I call the “biblical narrative” genre. (God’s Favorite Place on Earth, the story of Lazarus, was my first book in this genre.) I wanted this one to tell the story of five women whom Jesus encountered, allowing each woman tell her own story. I also wanted to draw out practical lessons and critical insights from each narrative.
Because I’m not a woman, I couldn’t do justice to the stories on my own, so I asked Mary DeMuth, whom I consider the top female Christian fiction writer of our time, to coauthor it with me.
Mary: I wrote it because I love stories, and I felt that some of these encounters with Jesus didn’t get the airtime they deserved. By doing careful research and weaving more of a story arc into the five women’s encounters, I hope to show people that the “characters” of the New Testament are actual, breathing people with stress and dysfunction and hopes just like us. Frank pioneered the idea of this book, so all credit goes to him for imagining it. I’m grateful he asked me to join him.
KM: You feature five women from the Gospels. Why pick women in particular as your subjects?
Mary: Women had significant, personal encounters with Jesus, a fact that we sometimes miss, particularly since so many stories revolve around the 12 disciples (who were men). I love that we’re elevating these stories, helping people reimagine just how radical it was that Jesus so beautifully interacted with these women.
Frank: Some of the most gripping, instructive, inspiring stories in the Gospels involve women. The longest recorded conversation that Jesus ever had was with a woman. And some of the most amazing things He said and did related to women. So I thought that a book in which some of these women told their own stories about Jesus would not only bring the Gospels to life in our minds, but it would also bring Jesus alive in our hearts.
KM: Which one is your favorite and why?
Frank: Mary of Bethany is my all-time favorite disciple of Jesus. This came home to me when I wrote God’s Favorite Place on Earth. (Mary was the sister of Lazarus, so she gets ample airtime in that book.)
I love Mary because she knew Jesus better than most, anticipating His reactions and even His impending death. She also paid the price for loving Him, for she was falsely accused by both her sister and the other disciples (on two different occasions), mostly out of jealousy. In both situations, Mary embraced the spirit of the Lamb, refusing to defend herself. But Jesus Himself rose to her defense on both occasions. He also gave her an enduring honor that He gave no one else.
Mary: For me, it’s hard to say. I love them all in different ways. This week, I’ll say it’s Mary of Bethany. She didn’t have a blatant “need” for Jesus. She was just downright faithful and often misunderstood. I think a lot of people can relate to that.
KM: Why would someone want to read the book?
Mary: Someone would want to read it because it’s truly unique. It’s biblical narrative, but in short story form, but it doesn’t end there. After you’ve been absorbed into a page-turning story, Frank exegetes the wisdom from each encounter and helps you apply it to your life.
Frank: If someone wants a good story to get tied up into . . . or if they want to see the Bible come to life in a compelling way . . . or if they want to experience Jesus Christ anew and afresh . . . or if they want to identify with people who were far worse off than they are, and see what Jesus did for them . . . or if they want to be given hope and encouragement in their situation . . . or if they are lacking love for the Lord and want that love to be rekindled . . . or if they want new motivation and fresh inspiration to follow Jesus more closely, they’ll want to read The Day I Met Jesus.
KM: Tell us about the course that supplements the book.
Frank: The Day I Met Jesus Master Course is designed for those who wish to delve deeper into the themes set forth in the book. It includes a workbook and 20 audio messages delivered by Mary and I. In addition, it includes 8 bonus eBooks from Mary and I. It also includes a closed forum where people can access us both directly for Q&A and dialogue. People can check it out at http://www.thedayimetjesus.com/course
KM: Tell us what readers get if they purchase it from March 3rd to March 17th from Parable.com.
Frank: They’ll get these 7 exclusive bonuses.
- An exclusive audio interview where Mary and I give a behind-the-scenes look at all the facets of the book. The interview covers where the idea of the book came from, why we wrote the book, what it was like collaborating, the hardest part about writing it, and much more.
- Mary’s Book Beautiful Battle in Kindle & Nook.
- My Book, Rethinking Spiritual Growth in PDF, Kindle, and Nook.
- A never-before-released audio conference message entitled “A Woman Inside of a Man.”
- Mary’s Book What To Do After People Poop on You in PDF.
- A never-before-released audio conference message entitled “He’s Not Ashamed to Call Them Brothers and Sisters.”
- A 15% discount off The Day I Met Jesus Master Course.
I also have TWO copies of The Day I Met Jesus to giveaway on this blog: enter to win below. Winners will be drawn on 3.9.2015. Good luck!