Book Review: What a Comeback! Phil Heaps (Grace Publications 2021).

Phil Heaps opens his latest evangelistic read with an illustration from the sporting world, with the distraught fans of one team sitting diminutively in the stands, 2-0 down in the dying stages of the game. As the final whistle blows, the same fans stream out of the stadium, cheering and whooping, replaying the final moments in their minds. What’s happened? In the final minutes of the match, their team scored three goals and, incredibly, won 3-2. The fans have been completely changed. As Heaps puts it (2), “the transformed followers prove the amazing comeback.”

Heaps has a more important comeback to dwell on in this short book. In just over thirty pages, What a comeback! explores the radical transformation of two of Jesus’ followers, as recorded in Luke’s Gospel.

The gospel account of the Road to Emmaus is unpacked in this book. After printing out Luke 24:13-35 in its entirety, Heaps dives into the account, teasing out the details and examining the transformation of these disciples of Jesus. The claim of the book is that these disciples met the risen Jesus, and their lives were transformed. Through Scripture, we too can encounter this risen Messiah, and our own hearts can be utterly reworked.

It is a short read, and easy to work through. I wanted to read it as I had really enjoyed Heaps’ first book, Who Stole Christmas?, a festive evangelistic book of similar length and style. (My review of that is available here.) Whilst I think I probably preferred its predecessor, What a Comeback! is still a helpful little evangelistic resource. The invitation of the book is to ask what happens next for us. The story of Luke becomes the story of Acts, and the church begins to spread through the ancient world. But what about for us? What does the story mean for us? Ultimately, this book is an invitation to come back to God Himself. (32) “God’s invitation is open to all. Whoever you are, and whatever you’ve done, God says, ‘Come back to me.’”

What a Comeback! could be a really useful resource for your church this Easter-time. It’s readable, warm, and authentic. It would be an easy giveaway, and might be a helpful prompt for further conversations in both personal and church evangelism.

What a Comeback! is available from DayOne, and costs just £3 a copy.

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