God’s Favorite Place On Earth by Frank Viola is one of those rare books that I could hardly put down! This is easily one of the most interesting looks at the earthly life of Jesus Christ that I have read in quite awhile.
This book focuses on the visits that Jesus made to the village of Bethany, and the family that lived there with whom Jesus spent considerable time. In fact, some of the most loved stories from Christ’s public ministry took place in Bethany; specifically, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the pre-crucifixion anointing of Jesus by Mary.
God’s Favorite Place On Earth doesn’t fit neatly into one literary genre. Each visit Jesus made to Bethany is told in first-person narrative form through the eyes of Lazarus. Although none of his words are recorded in Scripture, the way he “speaks” in this book makes the scriptural text come alive in a very tangible way.
After Lazarus tells his story, Frank Viola then steps in to help us apply that visit of Jesus to our lives. He makes the connection between the historical village of Bethany, and our hearts becoming a modern-day, present-tense Bethany for Jesus to visit and to minister.
So the book was simultaneously enlightening, inspiring, and immediately applicable. To help further the conversation, there are some great discussion questions included at the back of the book.
For a unique look at the ministry of Christ both in historical Israel and in your life in present-day, I believe you too will thoroughly enjoy this book!