“As for me, to love you alone, to make you happy, to do nothing which would contradict your wishes, this is my destiny and the meaning of my life.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
There is an eighteen year gap in the biblical recounting of Jesus’ life, a period between the ages of twelve and thirty that are missing, years that have caused laymen and authors, theologians and scholars to debate and posit any number of theories to create the image of Jesus that exists to this day. Not Jesus, the Messiah, but Jesus, the man. Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene actually married? Did they have a child together? There has been scant evidence found to support the theory, and though text has been discovered in which Jesus referred to “my wife”, no concrete facts have surfaced to prove that he was ever anything less than celibate.
It has also been suggested that Jesus might have been gay, based solely upon interpretation of his close relationship with and affection for the disciple John. Of course, there’s also the Gospel of Judas, which has raised questions about Jesus’ relationship with the man who is widely known to have betrayed Christ with a kiss. While Judas’ gospel is fairly well dismissed as unreliable, having been written long after the other gospels, the point is there have been a hundred of said gospels discovered, but only four of them made it into the Bible, making one curiouser and curiouser about what was omitted by those who assembled the books of the New Testament, and what they may have revealed about Jesus, the man, and why they were dismissed as inconsequential. Or perhaps they were controversial? We will never know for sure.
There are those who take every word in the Bible as the infallible and uncontested word of God. There are those who see the Bible as one long parable, a mythology that built a foundation of behavior and understanding in an otherwise unenlightened time, using morality tales and allegory to explain the inexplicable in a time when there was little insight into, or knowledge of, the world as it existed beyond one small region of the earth. If you believe the former, Julie Lynn Hayes’ Revelations will read as sacrilege. If you believe the latter, this book will read as a lovely romance between one of the most misunderstood men in history, and the man widely known as God’s only begotten son.
Damned not by his choice to betray Christ but by the role he was cast in this tragic play, Judas returns to earth, time and time again—along with his fellow disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, Jesus’ mother—only to betray Jesus forever and ever, amen, because that is the script that God has produced, and this is the direction each of the players follow.
Set in the present, this book is an alternate history tale of “what if” and a story that presents Judas and Jesus as lovers, facing temptation and striking bargains that will mean salvation and sacrifice and will change the course of biblical history. As a reader who believes the Bible is more a teaching tool than a written instrument of an omnipotent and omnipresent God, and is a book that has caused more problems than it has solved over the course of history, reading Revelations was a bit like “preaching to the choir”, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t buy into the author’s message of a love that can and does overcome all.
The Jesus in Revelations is not portrayed as a miracle worker, he doesn’t heal the afflicted or raise men from the dead, nor did he rebuke his misbehaved disciples nearly enough for my taste. He is, however, portrayed as the very definition of love: patient and kind, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. This is the overarching message of a romance that seems doomed to fail, so if that’s a message you’d like to hear, I say give Revelations a try.