After reading and enjoying Gary Burge’s The Bible and the Land, I was eager to read Jesus, the Middle Eastern Storyteller. However I found much of the information in this book I already knew. I suppose as modern day Christians we spent a lot of time studying the Gospels and other parts of the New Testament, to learn about Jesus and his context. We hear more sermons about Jesus than we do about the land of Israel and this is as it should be. Jesus is the focal point of our faith and therefore the focus of our studies. In comparison we know less about the context of the Old Testament than we do the New Testament.

However the fact that much of the content this book was not new to me was not the fault of Gary Burge who has done an excellent job of researching, explaining and recording many details from well-known stories of Jesus. In this short book, Burge covers six groups of Jesus’ stories: The friend who came at midnight, the stories of excuses, stories about compassion, stories of forgiveness, finding the lost and the foolish builder. Burge does a great job explaining the background and the customs associated with these stories to give us a greater understanding of Jesus’ message.

Again the book contains lovely photos and artwork.

A useful resource.