The 40 Days: A Novel
by F.B. Timmerman
The Bible records only a few verses describing what occurred during the 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection on Easter and his return to Heaven. The 40 Days: A Novel tells the story of a first-century Hebrew shepherd and his son, who after their flock becomes scattered during the cataclysmic events of Good Friday, find themselves in the presence of Jesus during that 40-day period.
Over the course of the 40 days, Jesus patiently answers the shepherd’s questions while teaching him about the purpose of his earthly ministry and what he accomplished for all people through God’s love. The 40 Days: A Novel uses Scripture in the framework of a story to make the Good News understandable to those unfamiliar with Jesus and the Bible while offering a new faith-strengthening perspective to long-time believers.
The 40 Days: A Novel
Author: F.B. Timmerman ● Cardamom Publishers: 2011
ISBN: 978-0974218182 ● LCCN: 2011927112
Perfect-bound ● 6” x 9” ● 200 pages ● $12.95
About the Author
F.B. Timmerman lives in the Midwest, where he “lives quietly, minds his own business and works with his hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). One of his children has special needs, a blessing that influenced the writing of this book.
Reviews for The 40 Days—A Novel:
Introduction “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Other than a few details concerning appearances to the disciples and apostles (most seemingly right after His resurrection), that is all that is mentioned of Christ’s post-resurrection life here on earth. Author F.B. Timmerman seeks to take what is not known and engage in telling a story about the impact He would have had on those whom He conversed with. The 4o Days – A Novel is meant to make the reader think and is not meant to take the place of Scripture.
Summary What begins as an archaeological dig for a father and daughter turns into a trip down memory lane as they unearth a diary of a shepherd and his special needs son. In this diary, we read of a visit from one Jesus Christ who spent a few days talking with the father and the son. The father has a ton of questions for Christ which He patiently answers. Along the way, the conversation will provide biblical answers to everyday questions from a 1st century Palestinian setting though, as with Scripture, applying to today’s world with today’s issues. In other words, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Review One must always be careful when writing a work of historical fiction…especially with Scripture. Timmerman does a nice job of keeping the essentials straight and accurate. While not everyone will agree with his perspective on some answers given by Christ, they cannot do so because of extrabiblical influence. Instead, they will be forced to wrestle with the Scriptures themselves as he, the author, offers biblical support (almost 500 separate footnotes!) for each and every answer that comes from the mouth of Jesus. Perhaps the best aspect of this book is the timeless, biblical wisdom offered in a story format that will surely cause the reader, believer or not, to pause and consider what the Bible says about ________. And yes, the Bible speaks to just about every problem man faces.
Recommendation The 40 Days is a nice work of historical fiction. More importantly, the author painstakingly supported every answer with Scripture. For those who are looking for a good read, I recommend this novel. I would also caution the reader to be discerning. Not that there is anything heretical, but you never want to fully agree with 100%…especially in a subjective work of fiction where, more often than not, we are reading the author’s perspective. That being said, I would recommend this resource to anyone…believer or not.
Posted on June 20, 2011 by Jenny Herman
Have you ever picked up a book just because you were so intrigued by its premise or plot? Something that you read on its cover called to you, piquing your curiosity. This is exactly why I offered to review The 40 Days, a Novel. That, and I also wanted a break from all the non-fiction reading I do! I thought a novel would be such a nice diversion!
Are you curious? What 40 days does the novel cover? Whose 40 days are they? Why these 40 days?
F. B. Timmerman writes about the 40 days after Jesus rose from the dead and before He ascended to heaven. Intriguing, isn’t it? The gospel authors tell us Jesus visited and taught hundreds of people during that time, but not much more than that.
The 40 Days starts at an archaeological dig in Israel. When an archaeologist and her father discover some well-preserved jars that contain scrolls, a record of Jesus’ last 40 days comes to the light of day. A humble shepherd wrote about the time Jesus spent with him and his special needs son, explaining things like His purpose for coming and matters of faith.
Now, if this were someone saying that they had found new Scripture explaining where Jesus had been, I would not have spent time on it. God tells us nothing need be added to His Word. However, the author is very clear this is a novel.
The incredible thing is that he crafts a story that refers to 492 Bible verses! Each time his writing is tied to a verse, there is a footnote number so that you can go to the back of the book and look up the Scripture reference and read in the Bible for yourself. I am amazed at the amount of work Timmerman went through to coordinate almost 500 Bible verses into a story! He doesn’t just string a bunch of verses together and throw in a few “ands”. He actually writes a story that is saturated with Scripture and Its principles. Here’s an example:
“I can see you now,” I said, “but what about when you aren’t here, when I can’t see you? Then it’s not easy.”
“When I go back to the Father I will send God’s spirit to be with you,” (250) Jesus said, adding “and the Spirit will help you to pray. (251)
As I mentioned, the shepherd’s son has special needs. Since it takes place in biblical times, the actual “diagnosis” is not defined. However, I could really relate to a few of the paragraphs discussing the son’s issues. Take, for example:
I was busy explaining to Daniel that I wanted him to inspect the fields . . . I was trying to be patient but at the same time getting a little exasperated with the process.
I have been through this many times before. I reminded myself that Daniel is different, he is not like me. He needs repeated instructions to carry out the tasks that I require, which are not meaningless; they have a purpose. . . .
Yes, I have told him all this before–many times before, and I also realize that everything I tell him today will have to be repeated on another day. Will this cycle never end?
I’m thinking a lot of parents can relate to that!
If you’re looking for a new way to look at Christ’s life and the effect it should have on our lives, this is a good option. You can get a good Scripture workout looking up all the verses! This book would actually make an interesting Bible study or group read. It’s quite thought provoking, and Timmerman does a good job highlighting Jesus’ life and the need for his coming and death, our salvation. There are a couple of things I don’t necessarily see the same, but they do not affect the doctrine of salvation, and they all have Scripture references so the reader can read what the Bible says.
What also intrigues me is that there is no biographical information about F. B. Timmerman on the book. The only thing you know about this person is that he wrote the book. There is not a picture on the back or any blip about where the author lives, what the author does, if this is the first book by the author, etc. My guess is that this is by design. Perhaps Timmerman wants no focus on himself, but all focus on Jesus and the story. Jenny Herman is from Many Hats Mommy. This review is also posted here: http://manyhatsmommy.com/2011/06/20/review-the-40-days-a-novel/
The way back to the Kingdom of Heaven is a long one. “The 40 Days” is a novel surrounding the forty days after Jesus’s resurrection and before he returns to Heaven. Drawn to a conversation with shepherd and drawing strongly from scripture, Timmerman provides a very spiritual novel, and makes for highly recommended reading for Christian spiritual readers. “The 40 Days” is a fine addition to any religiously-driven fiction collection.
This review is also posted here: http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ibw/aug_11.htm
A Special Note From the Author
You may know the stories of the Bible and believe that it’s the inspired word of God. You may go to a church on Sunday and listen to the pastor’s sermons and listen to the Holy Scriptures while they’re being read. You may even read the Bible on the other days of the week. Or perhaps you go through the motions on Sunday and then go on with your life the rest of the week.
Whatever your situation, do you truly believe that what you hear is true, or are you just afraid to believe it isn’t true?
Do you pray looking for answers or help, don’t sense that you get answers and wonder if God is listening?
Are you one of the many who have just never taken the time to find out what that ‘Christian thing’ is all about? Are you too busy to take the time?
Do you drive past churches that look like corporate headquarters and decide that the corporation you go to every day is already enough?
Have you tried reading the Bible to find out what it’s about, but you don’t understand what it says and then you lose interest?
Do you look at people and see different class levels and decide that believing in God isn’t necessary in this high-tech age? You see that one group consists of successful business leaders, the politically powerful, the rich, the prestigious, the glamorous, the manipulators of money, and assume they all seem to be doing well and enjoying themselves. The other group consists of all the people that aren’t in the first group—and you decide you want to be in the first group, the successful one. They don’t seem to be accountable to some invisible power and they appear to be doing very well on their own.
Do you know people who call themselves Christians but act just the same as people who aren’t, so you don’t take their faith seriously?
Do you know people who call themselves Christians but act so differently from everyone else that you don’t take them seriously?
Are you skeptical of the existence of a God and the belief that his Son—a person called Jesus—actually walked on this earth?
Do you think the old stories about Jesus are just that—old stories—but nothing more. If you had more proof maybe you would believe.
Do you even know who Jesus is?
If you don’t know anything about Jesus or not enough to know how or if he should influence your life, maybe the following story will give you some insight and then arouse your curiosity to learn more.
If you do know Jesus, I hope this story will strengthen your faith and make you consider more fully how you would live your life if you had no doubts about the existence of Jesus; God and creator of the universe.
If you had one more bit of proof, something that removed all doubts about Jesus and acknowledged the love God has for all people, would that belief cause you to live your life differently, without so much worry, and with more compassion for others? What security you would have knowing that God has promised to watch over you and provide for you. On top of that, you’d be certain that death is not the end, but that through His Son, it’s only the portal to a better and everlasting life.
That extra proof already exists—you only need to open your eyes and your heart to it.
Though this is a fictional story, I’ve tried to the best of my ability to reflect the Bible, and have added many endnotes that reference places in the Bible where the various topics can be found, many with Jesus’ own words.
I hope this story helps you realize that Jesus represents God’s love for people, encourages you to have a passion for learning more about Jesus, the Son of God, and helps you see that Jesus truly did exist, still exists, and will always exist.
And did I say it yet? The Bible doesn’t say where Jesus was those last 40 days before he ascended into Heaven.