How Friendship with Jesus Changes Us
by Amy Boucher Pye
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Pub Date 02 May 2023 | Archive Date Not set
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 10 members
This book is so good! I highly recommend this to anyone especially those of us in our church book club, this book would be a great addition to that group. In this book Amy unpacks the dynamics of the remarkable friendships Jesus had with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, inviting you to be transformed!!! It's filled with prayer exercises and reflection questions great for some devotional time with Jesus or even to discuss in groups!!
Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC. I loved this creative and contemplative look at Mary, Martha and Lazarus. It's woven together beautifully with real insight, honesty and wisdom. It would be perfect to read as a small group - but is great read alone, too.
The siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were some of Jesus' good friends. Transforming love focuses on the friendship that Jesus had with each sibling and delves into how their examples can help us create our own relationship with Jesus. Each section has a prayer and reflection questions at the end. Makes for a good individual or small group study.
Thanks to Netgalley and Our Daily Bread Publishing for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Amy Boucher Pye looks at each sibling anew as she explores Jesus’ close friendship with Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus. She shows how God uses our relationships with others and with Jesus to shape us as individuals. In this book, Amy hopes that the reader will want to meet with Jesus as a dear friend, just as the siblings did. She would like us to learn how to receive His love and let it transform us within and without.
Amy presents this story of “transforming love” in three parts: Part 1 Being and Doing: The Luke 10 Story, Part 2 Grieving and Rejoicing: The John 11 Story, and Part 3 Loving and Serving: The John 12 Story.
Part 1 focuses on how we often define ourselves by our work — by what we do or produce — instead of resting in how God defines us. Are we trying to prove we’re worth God’s attention? As Christians, we need to rest in our identity as His children. No “people-pleasing” is needed. This first part delves in the Luke 10 story – the famous, or infamous, “Martha vs. Mary” passage I mentioned earlier.
Amy points to the writing choices Luke made when he wrote this account. She said commentators believe Lazarus had a physical disability, which could explain why Jesus and the disciples come to them. Amy notes some countercultural details as well. Martha is the head of the family. Luke mentions first. Her name means “owner” and “master.” She takes on the brunt of hosting and preparing for guests, even going so far as to do the work their manservant would do. She has little time to prepare. Amy said it’s not like Jesus sent a text to Martha that He and the disciple are on their way. (I loved that observation!)
When Amy turns to Mary at Jesus’ feet, she notices the countercultural features. Women did not learn at the feet of a teacher; in fact, women weren’t even to touch the Torah, she said. And yet, the Bible shows many women disciples throughout scripture. Here, Amy says we need to reconsider Mary’s choice. She probably knew she should help her sister, but she wanted to listen to Jesus more. She may have thought she “shouldn’t” learn with the men, but she chose to learn alongside them despite that.
Jesus defends Mary while teaching Martha “a better way,” Amy says. When scripture repeats a word, she says it means we need to pay attention. Jesus says Martha’s name twice. He tells her that she worries about many things and only one is important. The one thing Mary chose is to be with Jesus. That’s not to say Martha should not use that gift of hospitality she has, but here she took on more than was needed. She needs some balance in her life, something Amy shows Martha learned in Part 3.
Amy covers the topic of “waiting for Jesus” in part 2, as she picks up the second account of Martha and Mary. Their brother Lazarus became deathly ill. Martha wrote Jesus, but she didn’t demand anything of Him. Just Him knowing was enough. Amy said she had to know the risk of drawing Jesus to return to a place where He avoided stoning before. Jesus waits instead of rushing, and this waiting is important. Lazarus dies before Jesus and disciples return. Amy said that Jews believed when someone died, the soul hovered for three days. Lazarus had been dead and buried four. (I appreciated Amy’s note here that Lazarus wasn’t “mostly dead,” like Westley from “Princess Bride.”)
Both sisters would say the same thing to Jesus upon His arrival. Lazarus wouldn’t have died had He been there. When Martha meets Jesus, she shows a deep faith that abides in hope. She trusts God will give Jesus what He asks, but again she doesn’t make demands, Amy says. They talk about who Jesus really is — the Messiah. She knows about the resurrection of the dead in the future. Now, Jesus expands her faith when he tells her “I am the resurrection and the life."
Mary runs to meet Jesus when Martha tells her that He has asked for her. The Jews who have gathered in mourning for Lazarus follow her. She falls at His feet in tears, and Jesus weeps as well, moved by her grief as well as that of the mourners. The people see how much He loved Lazarus, and they soon become witnesses to the last miracle before Jesus’ own death on the cross. He calls for the stone to be rolled away in front of Lazarus’ tomb. First, Jesus prays so everyone can hear Him speaking to His Father and thanking Him in advance for bringing this dead man back to life. He cried out, “Come out, Lazarus.” And Lazarus, still wrapped in grave clothes, arose from the grave, and walked out of the tomb.
Amy here shares an awe-inspiring insight about how specific Jesus needed to be with His request: “Come out, Lazarus.” Jesus is the resurrection and the life, so if He had not been specific, more than one dead man would have risen that day. Can you picture that? Amy said the death of Lazarus represents those who are dead in their sins before conversion, while the risen Lazarus is how we are after accepting salvation through Jesus Christ. We are a new creation.
In Part 3, we are invited to a celebration with this family after Lazarus’ return from the grave. Lazarus leans on Jesus and Martha serves. Mary brings out a pint of pure nard that she opens and pours on Jesus’ feet, wiping them with her hair in a beautiful display of love and devotion. Judas Iscariot would chastise this extravagance, saying that the perfume could have brought in a year’s wages. John makes sure to point out the greed of Judas, Amy says, and how that disciple would take for himself some of the money collected.
Besides showing great love for Jesus, Mary also shows an understanding of who He is, His mission, and what is to come.
I enjoyed this closer look at the story of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus’ friendship with Jesus. Amy provides personal stories alongside each theme she develops as she features these three accounts in scripture. I liked the variety of commentaries Amy researched. She seamlessly weaves them into her discussion with whether these folks live today and as far back as the 4th century. She also provides prayer starters and ways for the reader to personally connect with the material and scriptures during their alone time with God.
The only area I thought Amy could have cut was the exercise using Psalm 23. She shows how to rework the passage and pulls from the themes covered in each chapter’s lesson. I saw the notation in the back that she learned this technique elsewhere. You might enjoy this exercise. Her results did grow on me, but at the same time, I didn’t understand the relevance of going back over Psalm 23 and rewriting it. She also had these other exercises that I felt related more with the material.
You can choose to use her book for an individual study, or you can use this book to lead a Bible study group. Amy provides questions to guide you at the end of each chapter, and a guide for class leaders at the end to help you conduct each of the 8 sessions. Plenty of endnotes also are in back for further reading and study alongside this work.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Amy Boucher Pye, and Our Daily Bread publishing for the ARC!
Transforming Love takes an in depth look at Jesus' relationship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus and their stories in the Bible. I really loved how the author brings in historically significant facts to bring these stories alive and give more context. The questions at the end of the chapters are thought provoking great for solo reading or group discussions!
Transforming Love: How Friendship with Jesus Changes Us
Release Date: May 2nd 2023
✨this is not like other arcs I have received from NetGalley this is a devotional so I will be reviewing it differentl✨
I thought this was a great devotional and it was easy to follow along. I think it has a great flow and great for people who want a few different passages when reading a devotional rather than just one book.
Thank you @netgalley and @ourdailybreadpublishing for this ARC.
Sometimes God feels distant. What creates that feeling of disconnect and what can we do when God feels far away?
Studying Jesus’s friendships is a good place to start. When Jesus walked the Earth, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were some of His closest friends. He accepted them just as they were. In the context of a safe, vulnerable, and loving relationship with Him, each sibling was emboldened to move past cultural and social expectations, let go of unhealthy sin patterns, and be freed of bad habits—all so they could embrace intimacy, rest, and wholeness in Him.
Today, Jesus offers the same invitation to you. With a fresh, uplifting perspective on an often-told story, Amy Boucher Pye unpacks the dynamics of Jesus’s remarkable friendships with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, inviting you to be transformed by the same love that upended their lives. With prayer exercises and reflection questions, Transforming Love is the perfect resource for your personal time with God as well as group discussion.
Wherever you are on life’s journey, let yourself be liberated to experience grounded faith, boundless joy, and profound peace through an ever-deepening friendship with Jesus.
In “Transforming Love”, Amy Boucher Pye offers a collection of thoughts about the friendship of Mary, Martha and Lazarus with Jesus.
In this small book you are sure to find some good reflections about the passages that mention the three brothers, questions to work on alone or in group, prayer exercises, guidelines for group studies of the book and lots of references.
Unfortunately it is also full of repetition and sometimes there is way too much mixing between the meditations on bible passage and the personal anecdotes.
So to conclude a book that is not for people that are new to the Faith but it can still have some interesting insights for more “mature” christians.
Transforming Love is many things: part author story/testimony, part Bible study, part devotional. It does these 3 things well enough and examines three friends of Jesus who are familiar to us: Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. The author's love, intention, and hopes for the reader are clearly expressed on every page. I think the author wants the reader to find security and love in Jesus and have that love propel the reader to action.
I think this book would be good for a small group who is getting to know eachother or needs new material for a short time period, for a 4-6 weeks or less. I could also see it being used as a online group/book club devotional or a weekend retreat resource.
This isn't the most in-depth or scholarly study of Martha, Mary, or Lazarus and that's ok! My impression is the author does value scholarship, and even sprinkles in references for the claims she makes which I appreciated.
I enjoyed her perspectives on these three siblings. She writes that she doesn't want to typecast these individuals and I think she does achieve that.
Solid book about the transforming love of Christ and how it changes us. Great depth into Jesus's relationship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and how that applies to us today with our differing personalities and viewpoints as children of God. A little bit repetitive but a good resource.
A nice look at Jesus’ relationship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and how we too can have the relationship that we long for with Him. I loved some of the insights and will write them down in my journaling Bible. I liked the prayer exercises too. A lovely, gently written devotional worth any believer’s time and commitment.
One thing I would have preferrred is shorter anecdotes from the author’s life. While I enjoyed reading them, I feel that they distract from the main purpose of the book as a devotional.
Almost 5 stars from me, rounded up to 5 stars.
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