Back at the Cross: Sean Garrett’s Compelling Recount on Jesus Christ

Accused, persecuted, and crucified, Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, died, and rose again in order to set humanity free from the curse of sin. Be prepared to feel the divine presence and warmth of unconditional love in Sean Garrett’s poignant and soul-stirring story, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Sean Garrett has 22 years of experience as a public school teacher. He considers himself a writer, philosopher, and mathematician in his spare time. Garrett’s professional base has been teaching throughout his career. Sean Garrett’s faithful familial history and his educational experience in philosophy are blended in “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ”.

How did you come up with the idea to tell the story of Jesus in the eyes of Pontius Pilate?

Truth be told, I didn’t actually come up with the idea. I, more or less, stumbled across the idea. It was pure circumstance, I guess. I found the idea of the story in a book entitled, “The Lost Books of the Bible” (Gramercy ed., 1979), at the John F. Kennedy Library, at California State University Los Angeles, where I was studying Philosophy as an undergraduate student. It was a late weekday night, and I was in the library studying late one night (like a diligent college student). As it got later, and closer to the library to close at midnight, I took a break from studying and started wondering the library looking at the various book titles on the shelves. At some point, I realized that I’d stumbled into the library’s philosophy/religion section. Of course, it caught my attention immediately, being a philosophy student, but also the fact that religion and belief in God was a part of my upbringing for as long as I could remember (in my house, religion and belief in God was assumed true). So, as I was scanning the halls of the library I saw the title, “Lost Books of the Bible”. It was a plain black clad book with only a title on its spine. It was as an inconspicuous as any book on the shelves. The title caught my attention immediately. I was at a point in my life where I was reconfirming my faith in God, and the story found me at the perfect time. I took the book off the shelves, packed-up my school books, and took the book home, without checking it out with the librarian. I took the book to my dorm, and in a matter of time I had virtually read it from cover to cover. I was reading the book everywhere; on the bus, between classes, at the beach, the bookstore, wherever. But, ironically, it wasn’t until the second time I went back to read “The Lost Books…….” Is when I found the basis of the story, in the book of Nicodemus. While I was in the middle of reading it, I realized the magnitude of the story and immediately saw it as an opportunity to turn it into a film or movie. So I decided to outline the story and write it into a book first. I knew once I did that, then I could transfer it into a script later, when the time is right.

In terms of writing the story through the eyes of Pontius Pilate, that too came later as a natural development of my research into the story. The book of Nicodemus lays out the foundation and basis for the plot of the story. It includes, obviously, Jesus’ trial, the events that happened while he lay on the cross (i.e., the eclipse), the narrative of Simeon’s sons, and Pilate confronting the Jews at the temple (about the identity of Jesus). But, as I continued to read through “The Lost Books…”, I found a set of letters from Pilate, addressed to Caesar Augustus, Tiberius Caesar, and to Herod. These were personal letters written by Pontius Pilate, to these various Roman rulers, and in them, they gave voice to Pontius Pilate the person. They were a great insight into the thoughts and feelings of an historical figure, who is forever inextricably linked to the trial and death of Jesus. Those letters gave perspective to Pontius Pilate, in which I was then able to tell the story more from his personal point of view. Because, even in the book of Nicodemus (as he wrote his story), Pilate is the main character. The letters brought Pilate’s life into focus.

How was your experience writing this book?

My experience writing this book came at a time when I was between full-time jobs, working as a substitute teacher, and teaching part-time as an adjunct professor. I had already created a full-outline of the entire story told by Nicodemus, and I was very confident in my base knowledge of the Bible and the new information I had researched in the “Lost Books”. I felt very comfortable (to say the least) with the subject matter in which I was writing about. It was he whole idea of philosophy, and religion, and the word of God all working cohesively to bring the story together. I was a bit concerned about making the story too philosophical. Or, being afraid to address certain critical thought-provoking issues. But, at some point I said to myself, “who cares?” and at that point, I started opening up and really focusing my attention to creating the story I wanted. I felt it was my one real chance to tell the story as creatively and objectively as possible. I concluded there would be smart people, who would read it and appreciate being challenged by it critically. I knew it was a story that people deserved to know the facts about. So, I just opened up and had fun writing about a story and a topic which I am personally & spiritually tied to. It was great learning experience.

Can you share a certain event in your life wherein your beliefs and values were also challenged?

On August 30th, 1992, my grandmother (Rachel Young-Saunders), passed away, and it was the first life changing event that ever happened to me. It made me wake-up to some very harsh realities about life, and (unfortunately) sometimes about your family and the ones you’re supposed to love the most. I had come home that summer from playing junior college basketball in northern California, and the mistakes I made while I was there, the regular college partying, girls, drinking, dropping classes, etc. But, as a presumed believer in God, I knew that I couldn’t afford (in so many ways), not to continue to make the same mistakes over again. So I decided I really needed to refocus my time and attention, and reconfirm my commitment to what was real & true. For me, that was the God, and the Word of God, which my grandmother raised me up to believe and trust in. I made a decision to get baptized for the second time, and reconfirm my dedication to God and His word. In 1996, after spending almost four more years of school at Santa Monica City College (SMCC), I finally transferred as a student to Cal State Los Angeles (California State University Los Angeles, where I found the “Lost Books of the Bible” and began to put this story together. But (like I said), I couldn’t afford to make those same mistakes the second time around. I knew there weren’t going to be a bunch of great opportunities waiting for me , if I squandered another opportunity. Plus, I was still atoning for my actions in junior college. I could not lose my opportunity to graduate and effectively change my financial future, because of the mistakes I made the first-time. I became disciplined in my approach to the business of education, and really got out a lot of valuable learning as a philosophy student at CSLA. It gave me the platform to do what I am doing today, and it was all predicated and motivated by my grandmother passing away, and the things I overcame as a result of that. The back drop to all of that is living my entire life without a father, and having to depend solely on the care & nurture of my mother & Grandmother. Losing my Grandmother in 1992, challenged my beliefs and values.

What did you feel after finishing this book?

After I finished writing the book, I obviously felt a great sense of relief. Not because I was tired or anything like that, but because I knew I truly had a very unique story, that no one, up to that point, had written of. I wanted to make sure I got my draft copy-written as fast as possible. Once I received confirmation from the U.S. Library of Congress, that the book had been officially published in my name, and I was the owner of all rights pertaining to the publishing and selling of the story, then I felt a real sense of relief and accomplishment. But again, truth being told, I knew with even that, I was just starting a new beginning of having to independently market, and sell my story. I remembered what I learned from the book, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, which told me; in order to sell my plan, I’d first have to have a product (or commodity) to sell to a given market. I felt like I was writing a story that had a natural appeal to hundreds of millions of people around the world. The story was rooted in the great debate of religion, which people are easily motivated by from all sides and perspectives. The debate of religion has throughout time been a magnetizing and polarizing discussion for people of all walks of life. I knew that the story I wrote was interesting enough to attract the attention to sell to hardcore Christian literature fans, as well as knowledgeable literary fans in general. I felt people of many diverse backgrounds & readerships would be attracted to the literary aspect of the story, not only the religious aspect of it. But, I also felt like the story would be just as good (or better) in a movie theater. I think I wrote the story with the idea that I was writing it, for it to be seen and imagined on a movie screen.

What do you expect your readers to get from this story?

I expect the readers to get a very sincere and objective story about Jesus, and subsequently Pontius Pilate as well. My goal was to tell the story with as little of my own religious biases as possible. My goal is that readers will get to read & experience an untold version of the story of Jesus. I look at the book of Nicodemus as being similar to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Not in terms of importance (or sanctity or anything of that nature), but in terms of it telling the story of Jesus, his trial, death, and resurrection like those four books do. In fact, Nicodemus is the character talking to Jesus in the Gospel of John, chapter 3 (i.e., John 3:16). The Gospel of John describes Nicodemus as a well-respected, leader (rabbi) of the Hebrews in Jerusalem at that time. So, my goal was to keep the experience true to what we already know of the story of Jesus. I also wanted to make the language of the story a modern version, with a standard modern English retelling of the story.

What I think readers will take away, is the redemption and tragedy of the life of Pontius Pilate. To me, that is the message of this story. An unwitting character in history, brought into the middle of the trial of “all-time”, solely & completely by circumstance. It was not his responsibility to have to litigate Jesus’ trial since he was Governor of Jerusalem, and Jesus was a citizen of Nazareth. Herod, the Roman tetrarch of Nazareth was supposed to litigate the trial since it was in his jurisdiction. But Pilate, feeling the pressure of the moment, took on the responsibility. In so many ways, Pilate was a circumstantial tragic figure. But in Pilate’s story, is a great story of redemption that is at the heart of the root of Christianity. The unique and newly reiterated stories which make up the plot of my story, are great learning opportunities for all of us who have a natural interest in the story of Jesus Christ. It’s becoming more and more apparent that this is a story about Jesus that not many people have had access to hearing, up to now. That alone makes this a story that has great value to any reader.

Aside from writing, what activities do you enjoy most?

There are a lot of activities that I do, and I realize as I get older, that the activities that I enjoy are also activities that allow me to relax and be at ease. If I had to rank them, I’d have to say;

  1. Traveling with my family
    1. Right now, there is no greater time to allow me peace of mind, and the ability to enjoy new experiences like traveling with my family. Since Covid, we haven’t had too many opportunities to travel too far. My youngest son just turned 6, and we have limited the places we have gone. But, we’ve gone to smaller places, and even when we do that, it’s always fun to go somewhere new create new experiences for my sons and my wife.
  2. Going to the beach
    1. By far, more than any other activity, when there’s nothing else to do in southern California, you can always go and make your refuge at the ocean. As a kid, I grew-up in the quintessential beach city of Santa Monica, CA., where swimming and going to the beach were second nature. So (for a plethora of reasons), probably my favorite activity, by far, is going to the beach. It’s not only a place that’s tranquil & calming, it’s healthy. I swim, and I ride my boogie board. Boogie boarding is the best. So, on any given day (that I don’t have to go to work), there’s a chance I will find my way down to the ocean in the morning, to maximize the hours I have to absorb the ocean environment.
  3. Swimming
    1. As related to question #2, I really enjoy swimming. Of course, I love the water and everything about it, so swimming gives me the opportunity to immerse myself into the water, get exercise, and feel amazing when I get out. The only problem is that typically when I go swimming at a public pool, invariably some person is going to show-up and get in the pool with the challenge that he is going to prove that they can outswim me. What’s ironic about that is that the water for me is a type of baptism. It’s a way for me to cleanse, heal, and relax myself through the therapy of water and swimming. The water experience (for me) is a very spiritual experience as well as being good for your heart. When thinking about my own personal cosmology of the universe, I have to think back to the first verses of the book of Genesis, which says,

1.  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

What that says to me is, before the earth was formed, the two primary elements that existed were water and God’s spirit, and God’s spirit moved upon the face of the waters. Needless to say, I find swimming and the water to be a very profound experience in & of itself. This is why swimming is one of my absolute favorite activities. Growing-up in southern California certainly helped to cultivate that spirit of swimming and appreciation for the water since I was young.

  1. Reading & Studying
    1. It may deduce to reason, that a guy who wrote a book, has been a public-school teacher for 22 years, and enjoys reading philosophy, probably has been to a couple of libraries before. I LOVE READING!! I love studying & learning. It was sometime in my latter stint in junior college that the ‘love of learning’ became a reality for me. In fact, it was after I took my first philosophy class that I found something that I truly enjoyed studying. Then, I realized the value of studying/learning, and it became something I dove into head first. That growth of learning (for me) was focused in two areas; First, the classes I was taking to finish Santa Monica City College (philosophy, college algebra, astronomy, Spanish, etc.). Second, I turned to studying the Bible, and I found that to be as engaging as anything I had ever read up to that point. It’s obviously helped in my journey toward writing this particular story. Today, I spend most of my time at the library (where I am at right now), where I write, develop new stories & ideas, complete any work I have from my job. I also am a part-time investor with a brokerage company. There’s nothing like a good library! Studying is one of my favorite activities ever.

Is there a book that inspired you to begin writing?

Short answer, yes & no. Despite certain circumstances that I found myself in as I child, two of the most stable institutions I had in my life were my family, and the public school education I received growing-up. I was so fortunate to have a very stable and nurturing family and academic experience when I was in school. Reading & writing were things I was proficient at, very early. It was the nature of the way things operated in the70’s & 80’s. Our high school was graduating students who went to Brown, Northwestern, Berkely, Stanford, UCLA, and USC. I was the product of a great educational system from the time I was in kindergarten, and all throughout high school and into junior college. For me, reading and thinking, and using my imagination was what I was taught to do as a young student. At that time the state of California was I remember vividly books that I could recite by memory when I was very young. With reading, writing followed along naturally. So, the skill of writing I was good at because of my school training. As I got into college I became really good at writing term papers, and took pride in that skill. Writing was something that I was trained to do.

It wasn’t until I started my first year of teaching, that I came across a book, that gave me (I believe) my first aspiration of the possibility that I could realistically be a writer. I was teaching 4th grade, in south Los Angeles, and my first year of teaching was ROUGH. It was pretty commonly known, that the newest teachers were given the classes with the most difficult students. Well, that was my class of students. My class was crazy! But the kids respected me. I realized that right after lunch, was the wildest time of the day. So, to counteract their anxiety I would turn off the lights, and read to them, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, by C.S. Lewis. It was the perfect thing for them (and for me). It calmed them down tremendously. It opened their imagination (and mine), and in the process introduced all of us to an amazing story we had never heard before. I would later see the original story told as a play, and the modern version of the story more recently made into a movie. But, it was as I was reading the story to them each day that I realized that the whole premise behind, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was an allegory to the story of Jesus. It’s a great story. I can even relate the image of the lion on the cover of my story, to that image of the lion in, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”. That’s an ironic coincidence!

How is your spiritual connection with God right now?

In short, my spiritual connection with God is the same everyday. For me, it never changes. Somewhere in the Bible it says that God is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I try to stay focused to things like that, so I don’t get distracted by the changes around me. I try to keep myself in the moment. I try not to allow myself, to get too far ahead of myself. I don’t take things too serious, neither do I take my own personal ego too serious. By nature I have a very calm temperament. Philosophy has taught me how to be objective, that in itself helps me stay balanced. My spiritual connection with God is good, because it starts with me finding the center of myself, and just being who I am.

What types of books do you enjoy most?

Honestly, I have been focusing on reading math textbooks. I have several types of scholastic math books at home from Algebra 1 to Calculus that I read and study regularly. I study mathematics because I find it to be the most critical (and objective) form of investigation. There’s no bias or perspective in mathematics, like there is in philosophy, literature, and politics. Because of that, there is a purity in doing mathematics. There is an active critical research inherently imposed in the study of it. So I love to read a lot of math books. Ironically, I am not very well-read on classic literature despite having published this story. I always marvel at how much I don’t know about the history of literature when I am watching Jeopardy. Philosophy books are always interesting, because I get the opportunity to review & restudy topics I may teach in school; things like Plato’s Divided Line, Descartes’ Meditations, or restudying the branches of Ethics. Philosophy books are always important for me to read & study. On top of that, I am starting to turn my attention to reading more literature because it gives me insight on the things successful authors have done, that I can learn from and use in any books I may write in the future.

Do you have any new books coming? Can you tell us about it?

I do actually have new books coming soon. The one book I am working on currently in my free time is a book called “Lightning in a Bottle”. It’s a sports story about my high school basketball team. It’s a story about winning, competition, money, and politics. I like the concept of the story, and like my first literary publication, I intend to write it to be made into a movie. I recently completed a 5-page journal article, called “The Idea of God,” which is an argument for the existence of God based on the natural phenomenon of cause & effect. Cause & effect being the idea that something cannot be created from mothing. And, the second idea that something less perfect (which has less objective reality), can cause (or create) something greater than itself, with more objective reality. With that, God and the ‘idea of God’ could not come from nothing. It couldn’t have been created by a finite object, if itself, is infinite and greater than its cause. That contradicts the law of cause/effect in this regard. Therefore, God exists because it didn’t come from nothing. Second, God exists because it couldn’t have been caused by an object with less objective reality than itself (i.e., the human imagination and/or intelligence). Our knowledge of God comes from him projecting His superior objective reality on to us, not the other way around.

Those are philosophical ideas I am developing. I am also looking to critique the write a book about the philosophies of Star Wars. Most people don’t realize that the basis of Star Wars is founded on the principles of God and Taoism. That’s another idea I want to continue to grow and develop as I continue my career as a writer. College teaching is always an option for me, which allows me another opportunity to write and develop ideas. I also would like to continue to look for Bible based stories like this one, if I believe it’d be compelling for people to read.

This book is available on Amazon.

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