Michael Wests’ book Gospel Stories are stories that provide an easy and accessible way for folk who don’t know much about Christianity to get a better understanding of who Jesus is, and the love he has for everyone.
The stories try and imagine what was going through the minds of various people who had met Jesus and experienced his ministry, with the hope that it will allow the reader to be ‘in their shoes.’
Here is an extract from the book:
Free at last!
I can’t get him out of my mind. A few days ago I was out when I saw this crowd standing around a man talking to them. Curious, I made my way to the edge of the crowd and listened. After a few minutes, I tried to push in a bit to hear him more clearly. There was something captivating about him. He spoke with authority, but without a trace of arrogance; so gracious. I could see by his face his commitment to the crowd, and that he was sharing his heart with them … with us. As he spoke on, I began to feel ashamed. It wasn’t anything he said to condemn me … it was … I don’t know … his … purity; his holiness I suppose. In him was a different sort of life. Mine by contrast was tiny and shabby. I’d never met a man like him. The men I met were after only one thing, for which they paid; not well, and certainly it was no compensation, but it gave me enough to live on … but I paid too. After each encounter, I felt used and diminished. Eventually I became numb to it all, but there was a constant, quenching dullness in my life. Oh I could put on a bright face. If you met me in the market, you would never know. But inside I was empty. As I listened on, a tear fell down my cheek. I wanted to stay, but I couldn’t. I had to get back; I had a client coming that evening and had to get ready.
Each day since, I’ve thought about him, and about what he said about turning from our old ways and seeking God. I can’t get him out of my mind. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to see him but where could I see him alone – he was often with crowds and his disciples would be around him? I dithered for so long. Would I even be able to get near him, and if I did, what was I going to say? More than that, what did I hope from him? I thought of a hundred reasons why it would be stupid to go. Who was I, that he should be bothered with me, especially as he was usually surrounded by folk with greater needs? What if he ignored me, or worse, rebuked me in front of everyone – I would feel so ashamed? I agonised for a long time, part of me wanting to see him and try and put things right, and part of me very fearful of what might happen. I had no peace. Eventually, after a real struggle, I decided I was going to try and see him, and somehow tell him I was sorry. And if I left humiliated … well then … at least I tried. I left the house to look for him and began asking folk, “Do you know where Jesus is?” Most folk knew about him – everyone was talking about his healings and miracles – but no one could tell me where he was, or how to find him. – Written by Michael West