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The Bethany Tales

By Bryan Canter


Stories Behind the Stories. Peer into the lives of four people from the village of Bethany-a harlot, a mistress, a beggar, and a leper-as their worlds interweave and collide. Throughout similar circumstances, they each have unique and personal encounters with Jesus. Along the way, they learn what it means to experience authentic relationships, genuine community, and true faith.

These emotionally charged stories reveal people who struggle with the same kinds of life issues that we all encounter today-feelings of loneliness, guilt, inadequacy, betrayal, and despair. Yet their interactions with Jesus bring profound changes to the way that they view their world, each other, and themselves.

These four tales use the creative gift of imagination to explore what each of these men and women might have been thinking and feeling, while remaining true to the biblical accounts and consistent with life in first century Israel. So come on a journey that will challenge you, inspire you, and like these characters from Bethany, leave you forever changed.

Book Takeaway:

Though these four Bible characters experienced many of the same situations, they each viewed them from a different perspective. This affected their perception of Jesus and significantly impacted their individual relationships with him. Thinking through how Jesus met each one of these people where they were, and how he patiently guided them to a deeper understanding of himself, enabled me to better see Jesus’ hand guiding my own life. It also helped me to be more open and patient with how he is leading others in different, unique, and personal ways.

Why the author wrote this book:

You may wonder why I would retell these stories here if they have already been told in the Bible. Partly, it was because the Hebrew and Greek people of Jesus’ day, not surprisingly, had very different ways of telling stories than we have today. And so, I wanted to recast the stories in more modern-day vernacular. But more importantly, I wanted to dig into the thoughts and feelings of these people as they encountered Jesus in very intense personal situations. I wanted to think through what motivated them and how I might have reacted in similar circumstances. In short, I wanted to put myself into the story and consider how I might have responded to Jesus if I were in their position.


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