The Soldier Who Killed a King by David Kitz: A Book Review {Kregel Book Tour}

What if you could hear the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion straight from the centurion who nailed the nails into Jesus’ hands?  What if you could see what he saw, hear what he heard, and experience what he experienced?

Such is the basis for the story, The Soldier Who Killed a King: A True Retelling of The Passion by David Kitz.

As Christians, most of us know the story of Holy Week and the crucifixion inside and out.  Perhaps we have become a bit blase to the entire story, even while we try not to.  Trust me, you will no longer feel that way after reading this story.

This novel, written by David Kitz, a Bible dramatist and outreach minister, follows the story of Marcus Longinus, a Roman centurion.  The story begins on Sunday, April 2nd, and ends on Sunday, April 9th.  Longinus first sees Jesus when he enters the city on the back of a donkey.  He is suspicious of Jesus, so he follows him to learn more about him.

Though Longinus doesn’t want to be impressed by Jesus, he is impressed by both Jesus’ presence and the miracles He performs.  Longinus doesn’t have much time to ponder these works, however, before he is swept up in Jesus’ trial and his ultimate crucifixion.  In fact, Longinus is the one who nails Jesus’ hands to the cross.

This book is simply fascinating and painful to read.  I think so often we read the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ time on Earth, and it’s hard to imagine what his presence was really like for the people who lived during that time.  What would it be like to see someone with a leg deformity suddenly be healed, restored, and able to walk?  Can you imagine?

While I loved that the book made me think, really think, about what it would be like for the every day people who experienced Jesus’ presence, the book also disturbed me.

When Bookworm was about three, I was holding him in the back of church.  He saw the Stations of the Cross in the back of church and asked me what was happening in that picture.  I told him briefly and in a whispered voice, and he turned to me, tears in his eyes, and said, “That’s terrible.  That’s a terrible story.”  It was so painful for him to hear.  That’s how I felt reading this book.

I had always known that crucifixion must be a gruesome and painful death, but to read in detail how the person being crucified dies, to read about what those who watched the entire crucifixion heard from the men on the crosses–the cries of agony, the screams, the ragged gasps for breath–well, I felt like Bookworm felt so many years ago.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who would like a deeper knowledge and appreciation for all Jesus did and suffered through for us.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

Note: I received this book from Kregel Publications in routine for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.


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