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Book Review: “A Man Called Jesus” by Dr. Rick Herrick


Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Frantz reviews Author Rick Herrick’s book A Man Called Jesus”

In his inspirational novel, A Man Called Jesus, author, Dr. Rick Herrick, presents a Jesus with irresistible compassion who is deeply infused with God’s love. As a preacher over four decades, I would often comment in sermons: It’s all about the love. In his novel, Herrick gives us a glimpse of Jesus where–indeed–it is all about the love.
A Man Called Jesus offers a lot of historical background with notes at the end of each chapter and thirty pages of “explanatory notes” at the end of the book.” In this way, the book becomes a history lesson on life in first century Palestine.

As the novel unfolds, Jesus’ life is touched by tragedy leading to a “dark night of the soul” time of introspection. Leaving his home in Nazareth, he begins a journey to Jerusalem. Through conversations with persons along the way, Jesus comes to an evolving awareness of a new vocation. As these very human interactions settle in his mind and spirit, increasingly, Jesus begins to see himself in prophetic terms, as a voice for God and as one with special gifts to teach people about God’s love.

In the novel, Herrick uses visions to convey deeper meanings. For example, in comparisons between Jesus and the fiery John the Baptist, in a vision Jesus hears a soft voice say, “You can do better.” And, later, in the resurrection, it is through visions that Jesus’ followers experience him and are reassured.

As the story progresses, Judas is convinced Jesus is a prophet. With this in mind, he wants Jesus to act–as a prophet might act, he says. Finally, Jesus is persuaded to make a public act of protest in the temple. However, the next day, as he and his entourage approach the temple, Roman soldiers arrest him, take him to Golgotha, and nail him to a cross.

Jesus’ followers (much like the reader) are caught off guard by the suddenness of this action. Just like that–in a moment–Jesus is crucified. Overwhelmed with grief and despair, what are they to do? A few days later, Jesus appears in a vision to Mary of Magdala and to his mother, Mary, convincing them he is alive.

“Our Master is alive,” shouts Mary of Magdala. “Our Master is alive. He is alive in heaven. He spoke to me from there.” In this way, Jesus appears in visions to his followers. He tells them God’s kingdom will break out first in Jerusalem.

In the novel, resurrection is presented as a vision experience. It reveals the profound love of God. The message of “A Man Called Jesus” is about living lives transformed by love. With this message running through the novel, there’s a sweetness that draws us in. And once drawn in, the love of this Jesus transforms us as well.

by Jeffrey E. Frantz

   Click here to purchase A Man Called Jesus

Reviewer’s Bio:
The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Frantz is a retired United Church of Christ minister.  He had long term pastorates in San Diego County and in Miami Lakes, Florida.  His service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama in the late sixties spurred his commitment to social-justice ministries and to a spirit of ecumenism as a local church pastor.  He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Pacific School of Religion. He is the author of The Bible You Didn’t Know You Could Believe In and his just published book: The God You Didn’t Know You Could Believe In. Dr. Frantz and his wife, Yvette, are now retired and living in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Review & Commentary