An Echo in the Darkness - Discussion Guide
1. Describe the circumstances surrounding Hadassah’s close encounter with death. Why had she been sent to the arena? How do her actions in the arena make an impression on observers? How is she spared from death?
2. How is Hadassah able to face her execution in such a peaceful manner?
3. Do you think it would have been preferable for Hadassah to die than to live in constant pain and be crippled for life? Why or why not? How do you think modern-day proponents of euthanasia would answer that question? How do you think Hadassah would respond?
4. Describe the relationship between Hadassah and Alexander. What is Alexander’s role in her recovery? To whom does Hadassah give the real credit?
5. Hadassah claims that Alexander is “insatiable for knowledge but blind to wisdom” (page 61). Why does she say this? Have you ever known anyone like Alexander?
6. Describe Marcus’s circumstances as the book opens. Why is he so unhappy? Why can he no longer find satisfaction in things he used to enjoy?
7. Why is Marcus angry at Julia? Do you think she deserves to be forgiven? Why or why not?
8. What are the effects of Marcus’s lack of forgiveness on Julia? on himself?
9. How do Phoebe’s beliefs differ from those of her grown children, Marcus and Julia? Describe her prayers for them. Have you ever prayed for unsaved family members? If so, have your prayers been effective? What can you learn from Phoebe about praying for your loved ones?
10. What is the nature of Julia’s illness? How does her illness demonstrate the consequences of sin? Do you think she deserves to get well? Why or why not?
11. Calabah states, “There is but one rule in this world. Please yourself” (page 25). In what ways is this attitude prevalent in our society today?
12. What are Marcus’s reasons for traveling to Judah? Why do his friends question his decision? Why does Phoebe give him her blessing?
13. Describe some of the people Marcus encountered on his journey: Satyros, Malchus, Deborah. How did each of these people help him along the way? Is it possible that you could have played a role on someone’s journey to faith and not even known it? What are some things we can do to point others toward Jesus?
14. When Alexander and Hadassah go to the Asklepion (chapter 8), why do they choose to rescue Rashid? What role does Rashid go on to play in Hadassah’s life?
15. Alexander says of Hadassah, “People see the mark of the lion on her. They fail to see what it means” (page 138). Explain this statement.
16. Why does Alexander give Hadassah the name Rapha? Why does she prefer to be called Azar?
17. Compare the ways that Phoebe and Julia respond to illness and infirmity. What do their different reactions tell you about their character?
18. Did Phoebe’s stroke and her paralyzation leave her without purpose? In what ways can she continue to serve the Kingdom? (See pages 282-283, 342.)
19. Describe the relationship between Ezra and Marcus. When they meet, neither of them is a Christian. How do they help each other grow in knowledge about the Lord?
20. Why does Prometheus return to serve Julia? What risks does he take in doing so?
21. What circumstances bring Hadassah to Julia’s house? Why does Hadassah choose to care for Julia over Alexander’s objections? Why does she pray for God to have compassion on Julia? If you were Hadassah in that situation, what would you have done?
22. Describe Marcus’s encounter with Paracletos (chapter 32). Do you think Paracletos is an angel? Why or why not?
23. What holds Julia back from accepting the Lord? What are the consequences of unconfessed sin? Why is Hadassah glad to see signs that Julia feels regret (p. 327)?
24. Describe the reconciliation between Marcus and Julia. What are the results of forgiveness for both?
25. How does Marcus react when he learns Hadassah’s true identity? When he sees her face?
26. What do you think it will be like when we come face-to-face with our Bridegroom someday and he looks at us, scars and all?