The Judas Gospelby Bill Myers
Judas, the disciple responsible for betraying Jesus, has a conversation with God and proposes to him that if God had used his powers to market Jesus that Judas would have, Jesus would have been more successful in saving the world, with more people following him. Judas has heard rumors that God is preparing another prophet and talks God into letting Judas return to earth to prove his point using this new prophet, a woman who possesses supernatural abilities and who is stalked by a serial killer through her horrifying dreams of his victims. Judas takes her pure ministry and turns it into a marketing circus, and he comes to realize that in mixing commerce with God, bigger isn’t better and that God is interested in reaching indivuals, not masses.
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- Large Print Edition
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Read an Excerpt
THE FIRST thing Rachel smells is smoke. That’s how it always begins. Not the smoke of wood, but the acrid, chemical smell of burning drapes, melting carpet, smoldering sofa. The air is suffocating. Hot waves press against her face and mouth, making it difficult to breathe. Her mother stands before her in a white flowing gown. Flames engulf the woman’s legs, leaping up and rising toward her waist where she holds little Rebecca. The two of them stare at Rachel, their eyes pleading for help, their faces filled with fear, confusion, and accusation as Rachel stands holding a lit candle in a small glass holder.
Mother and sister waver and dissolve, disappearing into the smoke. Suddenly Rachel is standing in the doorway of an upscale bathroom. The same bathroom she stood inside last night. And the night before. The marble tile is cool to her bare feet. There is no smoke now, only fog. So thick she sees nothing. But she can hear. There is the sound of splashing water. Someone in a tub. The room is filled with the sweet scent of rose bath oil.
A nearby dog yaps, its bark shrill and relentless.
A woman shouts from the tub, “Who’s there?” Her voice is strong and authoritative, masking the fear she must feel.
Rachel tries to answer, but no sound comes from her throat.
“Who are you? How did you get in?” She hears the woman rising, water dripping from her body.
The dog continues to bark.
“Get out of here!” the woman yells. Water splashes. She swears. The sound of a struggle begins. Someone falls, knees thudding into the tub. There is the squeak of flesh against porcelain. Coughing, gagging. A scream that is quickly submerged underwater, muffled and bubbling.
Rachel hears herself gasping and grunting. She feels her own hands around the woman’s throat.
The dog barks crazily.
The last of the burbling screams fades. The struggle ends. There is only the gentle sound of water sloshing back and forth, back and forth.
And the yelping dog.
Rachel rises and turns, fearful of what she knows she will see through the fog. As in the previous dreams, a bathroom mirror floats before her. But this evening there is something different. This evening there are letters scrawled across it in black cherry lipstick. Her scrawling:
In the mirror she sees a tiny red glow dancing across her hand, the hand that holds the burning candle. It’s there every night, like a firefly. But instead of her own frightened face staring back at her, she sees the face of someone else: bald, white, and pale. A swastika tattooed on the side of the neck. Man, woman, she can’t tell. But it is leering. And it is climbing out of the mirror toward her.
She screams and throws the candle at the reflection. The mirror shatters, breaking into a dozen pieces, a dozen images of the face sneering up at her. Until they change. Until they morph into different faces. Froglike. Reptilian. Each climbing out of its broken shard—snarling, reaching for her feet, clutching at her ankles until, mustering all of her strength, she wakes with a stifled scream.
Nineteen-year-old Rachel Delacroix lay in bed, heart pounding, T-shirt soaked and clinging. At first she thought it was from the water of the tub… until she realized it was her own cold sweat.
“Rachel?” Her father appeared in the doorway, his bald black head glistening in the streetlight from the hall window. The same window that held the broken air conditioner they could not afford to replace. “Are you all right?”
“Mmm?” she mumbled, pretending to be asleep.
“Was it—did you have another dream?”
She gave no answer.
“You’re not taking your medicine, are you.”
She remained silent, hoping he’d think she’d gone back to sleep.
More silence. She could hear him standing there nearly half a minute before he turned and wearily shuffled back down the hall to his room. Tomorrow was church and he needed to get his rest. Still, she knew full well he’d not be able to go back to sleep.
Hopefully, neither would she.
She opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling, then turned to the art posters on the surrounding walls—the Monets, the Van Goghs, the Renoirs. How often they gave her comfort. Even joy. But not tonight. Tonight, as in the past two nights she’d had the dream, they would give her nothing at all.
IT WAS BARELY past nine in the morning and the attic was like an oven. The Santa Anas had been blowing for several days, and Sean Putnam doubted the house had dropped below eighty degrees all night. That’s why he was up here now—to save whatever was left of his paintings. To bring the canvases downstairs where it was cooler and the paint wouldn’t dry out and crack. Over the past months he’d already thrown away dozens, mostly self-portraits; clear signs of what he now considered to have been his self-absorbed youth.
He turned toward the stairs and shouted. As was the case with many Down syndrome children, the multiple ear infections had left his son hard of hearing. “I’ll be there in a second.”
“Well, hurry! We don’t want to be late.”
“I’ll be right there.”
He quietly mused. Tomorrow would be Elliot’s first day in middle school. A scary time for both of them. Yet it was all part of the plan he and Beverly had agreed upon. A plan conceived as the cancer began eating away and taking her. They wanted to make sure Elliot was prepared as much as possible to face the real world. Integrating him into the public school system seemed the best choice. They’d talked about it often during her final days. And it was the last conversation they had before she slipped into unconsciousness.
Now, barely a year later, he was making good on those plans.
“I’ll be right there.”
Elliot was nervous. He had been all week. That’s why Sean had agreed to this trial run. That’s why, though it was nine-fifteen on a Sunday morning, the two of them would pile into the old Ford Taurus and drive over to Lincoln Middle School. A rehearsal for tomorrow’s big day. An attempt to help Elliot relax by eliminating any surprises.
Too bad Sean couldn’t do the same for himself. Because he wasn’t just anxious about his son. Tomorrow was a big day for him as well. He’d finally graduated from the Los Angeles Police Academy, and tomorrow would be his first day on patrol in a black-and-white. That was the other reason he was up here in the attic. “To put away childish things.” He wasn’t sure where he’d first heard that phrase, probably from his old man. But it made it no less true. The days of being a long-haired art student had come and gone. Now it was time to be a man. To make the necessary sacrifices and take care of what was left of his family.
He quickly flipped through the remaining canvases until one slowed him to a stop. Not because of any artistic skill, but because of the subjects—six-week-old Elliot lying naked on his mother’s tummy, his little fist clenched, nursing at her breast. It still moved him in ways he could not explain. Somehow, some way, he’d been able to capture the truth of that moment… mother and child lost in the act of life, their faces filled with contentment, glowing with an indefinable peace.
He reached down and scooped up the canvas. “I’m on my way.” He tucked the painting under his arm and headed back downstairs, where he would find someplace safe to keep it.
© 2011 Bill Myers
Meet the Author
Bill Myers holds a degree in Theater Arts from the University of Washington and an honorary doctorate from the Theological Institute of Nimes, France, where he taught. As author/screenwriter/director his work has won over 50 national and international awards, including the C.S. Lewis Honor Award. His DVDs and books have sold 8 million copies. His children’s DVD and book series, McGee and Me, has sold 4.5 million copies, has won 40 Gold and Platinum awards, and has been aired on ABC as well as in 80 countries. His My Life As… series has sold 2.1 million copies. He has written, directed, and done voice work for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey radio series and is the voice of Jesus in Zondervan’s NIV Audio Bible. As an author, nearly all of his children's series have made the bestseller list, as well as 7 of his adult novels. He has been interviewed for Good Morning America and ABC Nightly News. Several of his novels are currently under option for motion pictures, including Blood of Heaven, Threshold, Eli, Fire of Heaven, When the Last Leaf Falls, and Forbidden Doors. The motion picture, The Wager, starring Randy Travis and based on Myers’s novel by the same name, was released in 2009.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The one bad guy we all know from the Bible is Judas Iscariot. He's the one that believed Jesus was headed for greatness by being here on Earth. In fact, if Jesus would have just let Judas handle things, He would have been the greatest person to rule the Earth and live instead of face crucifixion by the Romans. Still dealing with those thoughts, Judas makes a case for himself to Jesus to explain how things could have been different if he had handled things. Yet, the past is past but Judas explains if he can show Jesus he was right, maybe things would change for him. So Jesus offers Judas a chance at redeeming himself. Judas is allowed to return to Earth and work with Rachel Delacroix, a young woman that God has given a unique gift of healing to. Armed with all the marketing techniques of today's ministry, Mr. Jude Miller will show not only the entire world but even the heaven's that he truly does know that we all expect God's best in our lives. Despite Rachel's gift of healing she also is having nightmares of horrific murders in which she is not only a witness but in some cases, she is also a participant. Unsure of what these dreams mean, she works with a therapist for the police department, Dr. Sharon Fields to determine what is going on in her mind and if possible, controlling those nightmares with a new medication. In the newest novel by Bill Myers, The Judas Gospel, we get to see a different side of the ministry going on in the world that attempts to sell God for a profit. We eventually get to the true bottom line at the end, when we see the ultimate price, Jesus paid for any one of us. This book once more captivates the reader from the first page and will hold our interest spell bound until the last page is turned. Another superb book to add to your library and worthy of 5 out of 5 stars once again. I received this book through my own purchase to review it, and highly recommend this as a must read for anyone who loves suspense, crime solving, with a supernatural twist!
I had a hard time putting this book down...it really wasn't what I expected. Rachel has been traumatized by the deaths of her Mother and younger Sister. She has visions, some quite violent and makes predictions. She is then given the gift of healing. Wherein enters Judas Martin, he has found a golden opportunity. The other main character is Sean who is raising his handicapped son alone after his wife has passed away. He is just beginning a new career as a policeman. The book to me does have a surprise ending, and Rachel has to come to terms with what God wants her to do with her Gifts. I was provided with a copy of this book by FirstWildCard Tours, but was not required to give a positive review.
I was very impressed with the opening paragraph or two of The Judas Gospel. Very attention-getting; I was hoping we'd see more insights from Judas throughout the novel. I found it a bit odd that the character for whom the book was named was relegated to the supporting cast. I enjoyed the great detail put into the book; as always, Mr. Myers devoted much time to research and it showed. The execution of the story was also excellent, keeping the pages turning and my interest engaged. I enjoy reading (and writing) suspenseful books with a supernatural twist and Bill Myers once again fit the bill. Though not in my opinion as good as Blood of Heaven or The Face of God, The Judas Gospel is another good book to add to your Bill Myers collection.
For as long as I can remember, I have been addicted to supernatural thrillers, and Bill Myers is one of the authors who helped me feed that addiction as a teen. His latest work, The Judas Gospel, does not disappoint and proves to me that his adult works are just as engaging as his young adult works. Judas Iscariot, a character we think of as evil and manipulative, is allowed to come back to earth to try to show Jesus that he could have put Jesus on top of the world, controlling the government and making Him famous. Judas, using the name Jude Miller, is allowed to try his plan on a young girl, Rachel Delacroix, who is being raised as a prophetess in our own day and time. Rachel has recently discovered she has the gift of healing, but is hindered from using it both by a debilitating fear and her protective father, who thinks Rachel isn't ready to use her gifts. She is haunted by the deaths of her mother and little sister, for which she feels responsible. Perhaps because of that and the resulting time spent in a psychiatric facility, Rachel is unable to talk to anyone except family, a condition the author calls "selective mutism." More recently though, she has been having nightmares about murders committed against the local law enforcement before they happen. She tries to warn them by telling the police about her dreams in a letter, but she becomes the main suspect. Jude uses this to his advantage to generate sympathy for Rachel in order to raise money. He begins to promote her on TV and though he seems to truly care about the people, he is using her and her gifts to make even more money. Meanwhile, everyone close to Rachel is pulling away from her and her gift seems to be disappearing. Also the murders are not stopped or solved, and the question remains, how does she know so much about the murders? Could she really be the culprit? The main theme of The Judas Gospel seems to be that the church has transitioned from being a fellowship of people centered on Christ, to an enterprise centered on selling the gospel as entertainment. However, as I read this story, I did not feel as though I were being preached at or that the author was pushing his agenda on me. Rather I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how the story itself would unfold. The thriller aspect was taut and well written, making me want to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. The supernatural aspect portrayed our own free will, as well as the spirits that war over us. It shows how Scripture can be twisted to suit whatever a person wants to say or do, and miss what God was really trying to say. Both of these elements came together seamlessly into one story, and although the ending was satisfying, it was not a normal happy ending, which I appreciated. We are left with the thought, "Our loving Father is not interested in groups or clubs. He really isn't even interested in religion. He's only interested in you." Mr. Myers has said he likes to write books that make you think, and I feel he has accomplished that with this book. He says he keeps notebooks full of an idea for years, continually collecting thoughts and opinions, research and facts, and when he feels it is time to release those ideas to the world, he wraps them in a thrilling story so as to make them taste better going down.