Alpha and Omega, A Novel of Jesus.
Written from a Catholic viewpoint; examines in novel form the human spiritual growth of Jesus, alongside his divine nature. Like Job, Jesus undergoes trials to perfect his human faith. Calamity hits, and Jesus ends up working off his debt as a caravan camel herder. He uses the time to perfect his soul, which is the only thing remaining. Honor, wealth, future have all be stripped from him. Jesus even loses his foster son.
After five years as a caravan worker, Jesus enters an Essene monastery (they really existed). His mission in Galilee is just his domestic Essene mission, with one new bit of doctrine...the Messiah is now in Israel, and it is he!
You know the rest of the story, but not like this...New miracles, new parables, new wilderness trials. All doctrinally correct, but more, so to speak. The book has an exceptionally moving Garden of Gethsemane scene. Also available in print paperback, ISBN 1482513552
This novel is set in Israel about 30AD. Israel has not recovered from the disastrous conquests of Assyria and Babylon, which drove its people into exile, slavery, and religious compromise. There are more Jews living outside of Israel than in, and half the population in Israel is non-Jewish. The faith is in real danger of disappearing by dilution and compromise.
The leaders have wisely adopted a policy of including the several diverse groups within Judaism, rather than excommunicating them, which would further deplete the Jewish population within Israel. These groups include the Essenes, Zealots, Pharisees, and the rulers themselves, the Sadducees.
A program of religious conversion has been undertaken by which the faith is strengthened among current members, and lapsed members are called back; even pagans are appealed to. The village synagogues are centers of learning and community, and Greek and Aramaic translations of the scriptures are made available to the faithful. The temple has been rebuilt and made the tangible focus of the faith and of pilgrimage. The scribes and Pharisees set a strict standard for the faith in an effort to prevent its dilution.
The prophesied Messiah — priest, prophet, and king — is yearned for. He will drive the Romans from the land, restore Israel‟s borders, convert or exile the impious, bring justice and prosperity to the nation. The most hopeful vision of the Messiah‟s reign has him bringing God‟s instruction, and salvation to the entire world. Hope in the Messiah is a refuge for many, who toil to produce a harvest and provide for their families in the face of so many who strip them of their earnings. The mean lifespan in Israel is forty years.