Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana - Anne Rice
This is the second book in Anne Rice's trilogy on the life of Christ. In her first book, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, she told the story of Jesus' childhood with an emphasis on Jesus' growing awareness of his unique identity. In this book, she recounts Jesus' story from the end of his carpentry years in Nazareth to the beginning of his public ministry.
In the first half of the book, Jesus struggles with his desire to marry (and the public pressure to do so) and his refusal to join his neighbors in public revolt against Rome. One prominent elder in his community chastises him for his passivity. He says, "Samson's birth was foretold ... by an angel ... And we know his mighty deeds and repeat them generation after generation. Where are you mighty deeds? Where are your defeated enemies lying dead in heaps, or where are the ruins of the heathen temples that you've brought down with the strength of your arm?" (95).
The story picks up steam when Jesus is baptized by John and led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. Satan's temptation of Jesus is particularly powerful. In the final temptation, the evil one declares, "Nothing is done here without me. Nothing. Not the simplest victory is accomplished unless I'm part of it" (195). In order to resist compromise to evil in any form, Jesus' path and victory must be unlike any other before him. The suffering servant resolutely sets his heart toward doing all things according to God's will.
The book ends with a glimpse into the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. Like all good middle volumes in a trilogy, this book provides a good transition and has me hungry to see where the story will lead. Some may take issue with parts of Rice's story. She has placed the bar unspeakably high by trying to tell the story of Jesus from a first-person perspective. She is thus doomed to get some things wrong. But the parts she gets right - or at least the ones that seem authentic - are powerful and inspirational!