Stephen: A Soldier of the Cross

I finished reading another Lamplighter book entitled Stephen: A Soldier of the Cross by Florence Kingsley.  This is the sequel to Titus: A Comrade of the Cross.  After the current book, there remains one more in the series entitled The Cross Triumphant, which I will be purchasing in my next selection of Lamplighter books.
 
In Titus, imagine being present for many of Jesus’ miracles and perhaps family members of yours being healed by this man.  Imagine what everyday life was like with the strife that Jesus created by his teaching which radically departed from that of the Pharisees.  Would you be caught up in "Messiah fever" or be offended at these teachings which contradicted the well loved religious leaders of your day?  Imagine intimately knowing the two criminals who were executed on the right and left sides of our LORD.  You will be challenged by this simple book.
 
In Stephen, it came as no surprise to me that the Stephen in the book Titus, was none other than Stephen of the book of Acts.  Although, I had no idea that this character would come to life in such a vivid way.  Here was Stephen of the Bible before me as I read, envisioning him in a fresh, new way as he performed miracles, brought out the deepest truths in the OT scriptures, and demonstrated the kindness of Christ to all.
 
The plot was continued from Titus, utilizing Annas, Caiaphas, and Anna (wife to Caiaphas and daughter to Annas) as main characters.  Some of the Sanhedrin we know from scripture, others are written in by Kingsley.  Most notably is the Pharisee from Tarsus, and I must write, what incredible insight into what drove the character of this man in those early days of church persecution.  I enjoyed reading of Anat and Seth who came looking for Jesus of Nazareth, but instead found His followers and experienced salvation in His name. 
 
But the best part of the story was the introduction of Abu Ben Hesed, a wealthy Israelite who lived in the desert near an oasis awaiting the redemption of Israel.  Here was an Israelite living according to the law, but was sort of a law unto himself out in the desert.  He knew the corruption in Jerusalem and despised it.  But when Anat and Seth come to him wanting to travel to Jerusalem in search of the Nazarene, he becomes involved in the story which will lead him to those who taught the future redemption of Israel, but the present redemption of men’s souls.
 
One of the moments of tension in the story is the stoning of Stephen, portrayed in a way that will draw you closer to the cross of Christ.  But there are other surprises toward the end of the book making it a tale to keep you on the edge of your seat.
 
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
 
-The Orange Mailman
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