Take This Cup. I was concerned when I found that this is book #2 in a series. However, it seems to stand well on its own.
This book needs to be read as fiction -- it doesn't purport to be anything else. A young boy, Nehemiah, born to a shepherd and a crippled weaver, is "chosen" as the cup-bearer, to bear the cup of blessing and suffering that has passed from Melchizidek to Abraham, to Joseph (the cup placed in Benjamin's bag), and now is to go to the Messiah. Nehemiah's rabbi was one of the wise men who visited Jesus after his birth. Nehemiah must endure a long, perilous journey to get to Jerusalem in time to pass the cup to the Messiah. There are some odd inclusions:
* The white hart that supposedly survived from Eden is almost a spirit-guide. This is inconsistent with the book's basis in the biblical message about the Messiah.
* The star patterns predicting the Messiah's return seems out of character for the story.
* Bible passages seem to be used in contexts in which they were not initially used.
One thing that the Thoenes do stress in the story is that the Jewish people were expecting the Messiah to be a military/political leader who would overthrow the Romans and reestablish the Jewish nation under a descendent of David. In that interpretation, the crowd celebrating Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and then turning against him a few days later makes sense. Jesus, a descendent of David, was not the kind of Messiah they expected, so they turned on him.
Take This Cup is an engaging, fun read as long as it's treated as very fictionalized.
(DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher's Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for writing a review. I was free to write the review that I thought the book deserved.)