Book Review: The Very First Easter

Rating: ★★★★★

Paul Maier, a professor of Ancient History, brings his expertise to bear in explaining the significance of the Easter events and subsequent Christian traditions.  As in the companion book The Very First Christmas, a father and mother read the Bible with their son Chris, while he peppers them with questions about the meaning and historicity of the Easter story’s events.  They explain why Jesus rode a donkey into town, how the Jewish Passover became the Christian Lord’s Supper/ Holy Communion, how much Judas’ thirty pieces of silver was worth, why Jesus (as a man) prayed to God (when he was God and man at the same time), why Judas kissed Jesus, and other  details that help an elementary audience engage the Easter story from a historical perspective.

The author does make a couple of interpretations that aren’t universally accepted.  He states that Jesus miraculously appeared in the locked upper room (Luke 24:36 and John 20:19) because after the Resurrection He was able to appear and disappear at will.  The biblical text doesn’t explicitly make this claim, and some scholars believe it’s possible Jesus simply unlocked the door and walked in.  Maier also states that during the Ascension, “Jesus moved into a higher dimension of reality — beyond our human ability to see.”  This might be true, but it would have been simpler to just say the cloud that hid Jesus was a cloud of glory, often associated in Scripture with the presence of God (Exodus 16:10, Exodus 19:16-20, Luke 9:28-36).  Still, most of the content is both factual and enlightening, and children and adults will learn quite a bit from it.

Ordaz’s artwork is impressive, although the Biblical characters look more European than Middle Eastern.  (Someone with a better art-history background than mine might be more appreciative of the artistic conventions.)  Maier is a good writer, but Chris’s conversation with his parents is rather contrived, and the information could have been effectively presented without the question-answer setup.  That said, this is a great resource for helping elementary-aged children transition from simply rehearsing the Easter events to understanding their historical and spiritual significance.

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Publication Information: Maier, Paul L.. Very First Easter, The. Ordaz, Francisco (Illustrator). The Very First... Series; Concordia. 2004. ISBN: 0758606273.
Categories: 5 Stars, Age 04-08, Uncategorized
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Posted on March 2, 2013

1 Response to Book Review: The Very First Easter

  • Jeff Rivera says:

    I really appreciate this review, this book looks like a great read. I look forward to more reviews from you, thank you and keep up the good work!

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