The Welcoming Door
The Welcoming Door is an imaginative story of what could have been the basis for three of Jesus’ parables from the Gospels. Before becoming an itinerant preacher, Jesus worked as a carpenter, according to Christian tradition. The stories of the Prodigal Son, the Parable of the Talents, and the Good Samaritan are developed as incidents witnessed/experienced by Jesus/Jeshua during his carpentry career as a young man.
Pacing of the stories is leisurely, but characters are fully fleshed. Even the evil/greedy/lazy among them are human and have a core of goodness that Jeshua draws upon. Without preaching, Jeshua emanates love that gives hope to the downtrodden and humble characters he meets.
Kemp follows the tradition which believes that Juda, James, and Joses were actual siblings of Jesus, slightly startling to those who have believed him an only child. A few minor anachronisms jar — “the trees were about five meters apart”, “five minutes had passed”. “Jehovah” for the name of the Creator appears several times, although modern Biblical scholarship has not supported its use. Very readable and respectful of Jesus’ Jewish heritage, at the same time the novel shows how his message was radically different from messianic expectations.