Jesus of Nazareth by Jonathan B. Hobbs
Hobbs, Jonathan B. Illustrated by Vincenza Bianchini. Jesus of Nazareth: The Christ and Messiah – An Illustrated Collection of Bible Notes. El Cajon: Christian Services Network, 2008. 282 pp. $16.95. Purchase at Amazon for less.
Jonathan Hobbs grew up in a small African-American community in (Hobbstown) Bridgewater, New Jersey where he attended Sunday school and church services. By age 16, he worked his way to head usher as a doorkeeper of the Lord. He left his his childhood church, Macedonia Baptist Church, at the age of 21, when a deeper love began to burn in his heart to learn about the complete gospel story of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ and Messiah. Jesus of Nazareth is the finished, published product of this telling of the gospel story. You can find out more at his website, Jesus’ Little Flock.
Finally, it is important to note that he states on his website, “90% of all net Profits from book sales will be directed towards Christian charities, programs for feeding the poor, and humanitarian aid. The remaining 10% will provide funding for administrative cost and future projects.”
The book is divided into ten sections with a few appendices that compartmentalize the life of Christ. Other than that, there is not much to summarize in Jesus of Nazareth as it is a chronological look at the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I will not waste our time giving a summary of what amounts to a summary of what we know about the life of Christ. I would like to say, however, that the illustrations are all pencil sketches that are about 4.5 cm x 4.5 cm at the beginning of each little chapter.
I was wary at first since Hobbs used the King James Version for his scripture quotation. I was concerned since this book is primarily for younger (in age) Christians. I wondered if they’d be able to follow the writing and such. Turns out, that was not a problem at all. The book was not a compilation of Scripture passages, as I thought. Instead, it was more of a man telling the greatest story of all time to his young hearers. His word pictures and story telling were well done and was able to give a great description of the events that took place as well as the historical setting in which Jesus lived.
Some may be upset that Hobbs did not just quote scripture all the way throughout and added some commentary, but, given what he was attempting to do (tell the story of Jesus in a way for all children to understand), I argue that he did nothing wrong. I believe he accomplished his goal.
Now, I do think it should be stated that not every chronology of Jesus is the same. There are some discrepancies and it should be noted that the gospel writers themselves did not write a simple chronology of the life of Christ. This is not a problem unless someone tries to make it a dogmatic matter.
Jesus of Nazareth should not replace your Bible reading. Rather, it can be used in a classroom setting or simply to gain a better understanding of the context in which Christ walked. I can see this resource being translated and/or used in missionary settings where Bible storying is used. I have also found that it does in fact help the children to see Christ from a different perspective and will be a blessing as the parent then shows the children where “________” can be found in the four gospels. Any resource that takes you back to the Bible accomplishes the ultimate goal.