Son of God


By Roma Downey

By Mark Burnett

Formats and Prices




$11.99 CAD


  1. ebook $8.99 $11.99 CAD
  2. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 18, 2014. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The book Son of God is a tie-in with the major motion picture of the same title, slated for wide theatrical release (through 20th-Century Fox) on February 28, 2014. Like the movie, the book possesses an epic scope, providing a panoramic picture of first-century Judea as it recounts the events and reveals the meaning of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection.

Though based on New Testament accounts, including the four Gospels as well as the book of Acts, Son of God reads like a contemporary novel, delving deeply into the character of Jesus and the personalities and motives all of those who surround him, both his followers and his enemies. Even minor Gospel characters (Mary Magdelene, the servant Malchus, the Jewish elder Nicodemus) come vividly to life in the book, and its portrayal of the political machinations behind Jesus’s trial and death-the contest for power between the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and the high priest Caiaphas-is especially engaging.

Beyond depicting the historical milieu in which Jesus lived, Son of God deftly explains the customs and culture of the Jewish people and the Roman officials and soldiers who oppress them, enhancing readers’ understanding of the biblical record. In its final part, the book extends the Christian story past Jesus’s resurrection to show how Jesus’s followers, impassioned by their faith, began spreading his message of salvation throughout the wider world. Grittily realistic, Son of God pulls no punches in conveying the harsh realities of Jesus’s era. But it is also inspirational, showing how Jesus transformed the lives of the humble and the powerful alike-and conveying Jesus’s message of comfort and hope to present-day readers.


Begin Reading

Table of Contents


Copyright Page

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitutes unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at Thank you for your support of the author's rights.





In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God. He was with God in the beginning. He was there in paradise with Adam and Eve. He was there with Noah in the Great Flood. He was there with Abraham when he was chosen. He was there when Moses led our people out of Egypt. In the struggle for the promised land he was always by our side. He was the light shining in the darkness.

Then He came into the world, the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

I am John. And I was one of his followers. After what I saw, how could I not be?


A star unlike any other shines brightly in the night sky. Just outside Babylon a wise astrologer, Prince Balthazar, steps out from his tent into the dark night. He is wealthy beyond measure, dressed in fine silk robes. With a noble grace he looks to the heavens. Speaking to anyone and no one he recites, "A star shall come out of Jacob," from memory, the Book of Numbers. "And a scepter shall rise out of Israel." A smile erupts upon his distinguished face. Balthazar is certain this star portends the arrival of a great leader. And with that he gathers his guards and attendants, all hurriedly packing his belongings. Balthazar mounts his camel. He is bound for Jerusalem, eager to be met with Good News.

In Bethlehem, outside of Jerusalem, a baby is born. Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth, holds a tiny newborn baby boy up to the light. A smile of wonder crosses his face, for he has never known such joy. He brings the child to Mary, his wife. As she holds her son, the baby Jesus, her face transforms from tired and drained to radiant joy.

A crowd starts to gather. The star that set Balthazar toward Jerusalem has led many others to this very site. The same angelic intervention that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem has also spread the news to those who need to hear it most: locals, shepherds, neighbors, and ordinary people. These are the ones whom Jesus has come to save, and for them to be standing in this small barn on this cold night is a moment unlike any other time. They are witnessing the dawning of a new era—the fulfillment of the new covenant between God and humanity.

Prince Balthazar, atop an adorned camel, greets and falls into step with two Nubian wise men. They ride elegantly on their camels, ecstatic about the prospect of meeting this great new savior. Not one of them completely realizes who Jesus is and what he represents, but on this night when a star has led them to the small town of Bethlehem, they feel at the center of the universe.

In the grotto, where Mary and Joseph hug their newborn, the crowd offers prayers and small gifts to the child. Some bow, while others weep with joy. A young shepherd steps forward to offer something far more precious: a lamb.

Joseph is thankful, but the truth is that he doesn't fully understand the gift. He smiles at Mary. She cannot stop staring at Jesus. Mary has never seen anything so precious, nor anything that fills her heart with such love.

A reflection near the grotto door catches Joseph's attention. His smile fades. The mass of farmworkers, children, and shepherds part as royal attendants quietly and very efficiently clear a path. The crowd backs away, their eyes lowered in deference.

Joseph is uneasy. The last thing he wants is trouble.

Balthazar steps forward. He has changed into his finest robes and wears a gold headdress. His behavior is not regal, however. "I am humbled," he murmurs, as he drops to his knees. He has brought gifts for the newborn child. Balthazar looks to Mary and says to her, "Lady, I believe your son is the chosen king of his people." Joseph realizes that he should bow to Balthazar, but before he can, Balthazar prostrates himself on the ground. "What is his name?" he asks Mary.

Mary gently kisses her child on the forehead. "Jesus," she tells Balthazar, surprised to see that the Nubians have also come to see their child. "His name is Jesus." These fine kings all bow down on the dirty ground before the newborn Jesus.

The crowd departs well into the night. Mary cradles Jesus, and Joseph wraps his new family in his embrace. They drift off into a blissful sleep.



Jewish Land. Jewish people. Our Jewish Nation, under Roman Rule. Occupied and oppressed, those who spoke out were crushed. We craved a savior. A messiah.


A tall man pulls water from a deep clear well. Jesus has been without water for many days. As he sips the water carefully, his body fills with replenishment. The wind blows, whipping through the backstreets of the small town, Nazareth. The man smiles. He is home, for a purpose.

An older woman clothed in a simple blue dress, apron, and shawl wrapped around her head kneads bread in her small home. Her face sprinkled with flour does not hide her beauty.

"Mary!" she hears yelled through her window. "He's back!"

Mary turns to the window.

"Who?" Mary calls back.

"Jesus!" Mary looks up to God and gives thanks before tearing off her apron and heading for the door.

A crowd rushes toward the synagogue. Mary opens the door to see Jesus, her son, standing before the congregation, reading from the Torah.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," Jesus begins. The synagogue is small and cramped, filled with dozens of faces looking back at him. He sees Mary entering through the door at the back, a smile of pride on her face as she sees her son.

It is normal for members of the congregation to read lessons aloud on the Sabbath, and reading the words of the prophet Isaiah is common, but it's clear from his confidence and knowledge that Jesus is no mere member of the congregation, or even a learned student of scripture. He is the teacher. The ultimate teacher. He speaks the words of a distant prophet as though he has written the words himself. " 'He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. Everyone who has eyes will open them and see, and those who have ears will pay attention. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. And to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' " Jesus rolls up the scroll. He grasps it firmly in his right hand as he looks out over the synagogue. "Today," he proclaims, "this scripture is fulfilled in me."

There is a collective grasp. Jesus' behavior is not usual. These words are blasphemy.

Mary's smile is replaced by a look of worry and concern. A pang of fear shoots through her heart, knowing what is sure to come next. Time slows as the weight of her son's words press down on the congregation.

Then the room explodes. "Who do you think you are?" one man in the audience screams.

"How dare you stand there pretending to be the Messiah?" demands another.

Mary tries to force her way through the crowd, hoping to protect her son. But the mass of the congregation has erupted into a rage. The crowd empties out of the synagogue and into the streets after Jesus, meaning to punish him for his blasphemous words. She is terrified. But he has slipped away, and neither Mary nor the congregation can find him anywhere. Mary is relieved; for the time being, at least, he is safe. Her knees grow weak, and she sinks to the ground. "Keep going, my son," she whispers, knowing that Jesus will somehow hear her words.

Mary's fears are well founded. For she knows, just as Jesus knows, that they live in a world where making waves and challenging the status quo is met with unrelenting violence.

On a body of water far more turbulent than the Jordan River, three fishermen—Peter, James, and John—finish a long night of trying to fill their nets. They have nothing to show for it. They guide their boats to shore, looks of exhaustion smearing their faces.

They care little for the concerns of prophets or kings, or Rome, or the brutal methods of Herod Antipas's soldiers. They live in Galilee, the same area as Jesus, and their fishing village of Capernaum is also a sleepy backwater. The routine of their lives is simple, predictable: fish all night, mend nets in the daytime, sleep, and then fish some more. They are happy, despite these nights where the nets come back without a single fish to show for hours of backbreaking labor—casting their heavy nets into the sea, then hauling them back in, hand over hand. Fishing is what they do.

As the fishermen guide their boats up onto the sandy beach, a distant figure can be seen walking their way. Jesus' incendiary appearance in the Nazareth synagogue was a sign that he needs to preach to people who have not known him all their lives.

Peter, the most burly and rough of the fishermen, notices Jesus watching their labors. Andrew, Peter's brother, has taken it upon himself to help pull the boats ashore, and to drag the heavy nets up onto the beach to dry. Peter pretends not to notice Jesus, though it's hard not to. Andrew, a well-meaning and bright young man, is clearly captivated by Jesus.

"Who's that?" Peter finally says in a gruff tone.

"John says he is the Messiah."

"Oh, really? Can he teach you to look after your boat instead of leaving me to do it? And can he teach you to find fish?"

"Yes, I can," Jesus replies.

Peter glares at him. His hands are great mitts, calloused and rough from years at sea. His face is lined and sunburned. His back aches from hauling nets. The last thing he needs is a "teacher" to tell him how to fish.

But before he can stop him, Jesus walks over to Peter's boat, takes hold of the hull and shoves it back out into the water.

"Hey!" Peter barks, staring with openmouthed incredulousness at the sheer nerve of this stranger who clearly knows nothing about fishing, for if he did, he'd know this is not the time of day to catch anything. "What do you think you're doing? That's my boat. And you're not allowed to launch it all by yourself."

"You'd better help me then," Jesus calmly replies.

Peter runs into the water and grabs the hull. But Jesus won't be stopped. He looks Peter in the eye and keeps pushing the boat out into the Sea of Galilee. Something in that look startles Peter. He doesn't know whether he's looking into the eyes of a madman or the eyes of a king. But something in his gut—and Peter is well known for his intuition and discretion—tells him to do as Jesus orders. Peter stops trying to pull the boat back toward shore and starts shoving it out to sea. When the water is waist deep he pulls himself up into the boat. Jesus climbs on board, too.

"What are we doing here?" Peter asks.


Peter stares into those eyes one more time. "There are no fish out here."

"Peter," says Jesus, "I can show you where to find fish. What have you got to lose?"

Peter reaches for his nets, preparing to cast.

Jesus shakes his head. "Go farther," he commands.

Peter looks at him. "You've never fished here. So listen when I tell you—there are no fish out there at this time of day."


So Peter guides his boat into deeper waters.

"Blessed are they who hunger after righteousness," Jesus says. "For they shall be filled."

"Who are you?" Peter demands. "Why are you here?"

"Ask and it will be given to you; look and you will find."

What follows is a day of fishing unlike any other in Peter's life. Thousands of fish fill his nets. His shoulders burn from the strain of pulling them all into the boat. His nets begin to tear. But Peter casts again and again and again, and every time the nets come back full. Other boats soon set out from the shore as Peter is forced to call for help.

"See?" Andrew says when he arrives. "What did I tell you?"

Peter doesn't answer. He merely studies Jesus and wants to know more about this outrageous individual. As the day ends, too exhausted to steer his boat to shore, Peter collapses atop the pile of fish filling the hold. "How did this happen?" he asks Jesus in a tone of desperation. He can feel a tear welling in his eye. Something in his gut tells him that the direction of his life has just changed.

Jesus does not respond, although he is quite aware that this rough-edged fisherman has just become his first true disciple. It is a beginning of a new world for the both of them.


  • "An epic work that tells the Story of Jesus and touches the heart."—Joel Osteen, Son of God the movie
  • "The audience will be enthralled, encouraged, and inspired."—Bishop TD Jakes, Son of God the movie
  • "Son of God draws you into the story from the start."—Rick Warren, Son of God the movie

On Sale
Feb 18, 2014
Page Count
192 pages

Roma Downey

About the Author

Mark Burnett is the executive producer of Survivor,The Voice, and The Apprentice. A four time Emmy winner.
Roma Downey, star of Touched By An Angel has recently developed a line of Angel products (DVD, Bible, book) that have sold more than 1 million units.

Learn more about this author