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Authentic Portraits
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Wendell E. Mettey
Meet Those who Met the Master (http://m25m.org/theleastofthese, 2012.  123p.)

Preview copy from the publisher for review received 23 October 2012.  Read 25-27 October 2012.

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As I read these stories I felt transported to the situation, a member of the crowd following Jesus, listening in on the conversation and observing the events.  The stories are often developed in the format of the thoughts of the people reflecting on what they have heard or what happened to them.

Wendell Metty became focused on all the people Jesus encountered and how that affected them. This book brings those individuals to life in a thoughtful and delightful collection of stories. Metty develops a personality profile of every person who interacted with Jesus in any of the Gospels. The author brings them to life as life fully rounded, believable characters. We can understand and relate to them.

Metty set out to develop character profiles and envision the situation of the stories in the Gospels.  The author focuses on some bypassed characters who bring to our attention some missing elements in our understanding of Jesus and the situation in which he lived.  His portrayals will shed new light on the meaning and import of these encounters.

In some of these stories you will actually see situations and people you won’t remember ever seeing before.  These portraits will give you an on-the-ground, in-touch perspective usally missing from run-of-the-mill Sunday School lessons and sermons.

Sometimes another observer tells their story, as the Rich Ruler in the synagogue telling the story of the poor widow as he observed her and heard Jesus praise her for her generosity in the synagogue offering.  Rev Metty centers his focus on the Gospel of Luke.  But Metty references all the Gospels to fill out the portraits and events with pertinent details from all the Gospels who mention the same character.

Historical Background
Metty was further careful to use historical data and research from biblical scholars to create characters and develop their back story.  He attempts to be historically accurate in representing their role in that society.  Because of the background cultural insights he so competently provides through these reflections, I class this book with Bible Backgrounds.

One exciting aspect that really captured my focus was the visual representation of each character.  Metty had his artist use real models.  Each person whose image is used as a basis for a particular character was a volunteer that worked in the warehouse of Matthew 25: Ministries, an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization developed by Metty.  I was impressed with the quality and richness of these hand-drawn portraits, in costume suggestive of the era.

Wendell Metty is an accomplished writer of works in various genres, including a radio play, “Tickets."  He is a pastor and has had a successful church ministry in congregations in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He established the Church of Matthew 25, "a service-focused nondenominational church, concurrent with his founding of Matthew 25: Ministries."

There were some anachronisms and minor historical anomalies, such as referring to the leader of the synagogue as a priest, when synagogues were led by Pharisees, mostly lay leaders, or local teachers (“rabbis”).  These will not distract most readers.

The portrayals are thoughtful and authentic, and readers will really see these characters as real human individuals like us who interacted with Jesus.  See how that affected each of them.

This collection of personality portraits brings to life the Gospel stories, contributing to our understanding of Jesus.  This book also fills a substantial devotional role for those who want to know Jesus better.

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Reviewed on Amazon and GoodReads 20 December 2012
Review posted on Thoughts and Resources 4 January 2014

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2014 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Please give credit and link back.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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