A Story of Love, Forgiveness and Healing

October 24, 2006
Richard R. Blake for Reader Views

Award winning author Joe E. Holoubek has created a unique combination of biography and Biblical fiction, with a clear presentation of the Judeo Christian faith. Joseph of Capernaum relates his story through a series of letters to his friend Luke of Antioch, a physician. Joseph and Luke became friends while studying medicine together under the tutelage of Dividimus, a renowned Greek physician. Luke is independently studying the Scriptures and being taught by Rabbi David at the time Joseph is writing these letters.

The author skillfully weaves into the story of Joseph and Elisa of Capernaum his own life story and that of his wife set in the time of Jesus of Nazareth. This biographical sketch interspersed with the New Testament account of the Gospels develops an ongoing theme describing some of the medical practices of that time. The love and respect Joseph demonstrated for his wife Elisa are exemplary.

Holoubek has an amazing innate understanding of the background, history, and geography of New Testament times. His extensive research into historical conditions, medical data, and references to the teachings of the Old and New Testament are all well documented through explanatory endnotes and scriptural references at the end of each chapter. He has also provided a comprehensive bibliography, and index. The end notes provide clarification and a contemporary comparison of common diseases and treatments of the day.

Joseph’s questions begin at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. He and Elisa find themselves confused and full of questions as they interact with others exposed to the teachings of Jesus. As Joseph understands more of the teaching of Jesus, his spiritual eyes are opened and the unfolding of his growing faith becomes evident. Joseph continues to share his uncertainties and conclusions in his letters to Luke. “Luke, we are all beginning to think of ourselves as followers of Jesus and his teachings.”

Joseph and Elisa with a group of Jesus’ followers make the journey to Nazareth to observe the Passover. As Joseph described the countryside in springtime, I could almost smell the flowers as I looked closely at their brilliant colors and the detail of their structure with Elisa. I felt the discomfort of aching legs from walking, and the difficulty sleeping on the ground, as Joseph did.

I was particularly moved at the scene of Joseph comforting and sobbing with Peter after Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times. I felt Peter’s shame and humiliation for not boldly proclaiming my acquaintance with the Savior. Joseph’s letters to Luke continue through the crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He also describes the early persecution of Saul of Tarsus and of his amazing conversion on the road to Damascus.

Holoubek has a refreshing writing style. He blends fictional incidents into the Scriptural narrative to create a deeply moving drama without compromising the integrity of the gospel account. These incidents enhance and reinforce the focus of the Biblical intent.

“Letters to Luke” is a gripping narrative. The characters are multidimensional. This spiritually enriching story is non-sectarian, is consistent with the Gospels, and will appeal to a broad audience of readers.