Before reading When Jesus Wept (The Jerusalem Chronicles), I hadn't heard of Brock and Bodie Thoene, but I don't know why--they're a husband/wife team who have written over sixty Christian novels.
This novel is the first-person, fictional account of Lazarus of Bethany, brother to Mary and Martha, and friend of Jesus. The Bible teaches that Lazarus died, and four days later, Jesus wept at his grave before summoning him from the dead. Lazarus emerges from the tomb, wrapped in grave cloths. The scene is the one where Jesus declares, "I am the resurrection and the life." This event also enrages the religious authorities in Jerusalem.
The Thoenes state up front that they rely on Biblical accounts and their imaginations to tell the story, so it's interesting to see what comes straight from the Bible and where their creativity has taken them.
In their account, Lazarus owns a vineyard and makes fine wine. He's widowed and lives with Martha; Mary is wealthy, lives in Galilee, and has led a sinful life.
Familiar Bible accounts are made personal in the story as the blind beggar is someone known to Lazarus, as is the crippled beggar at the pool of Siloam (who cheated Lazarus' father, and whom Lazarus struggles to forgive). I love how the book shows how every Old Testament story points to Jesus, especially in a powerful scene toward the end of the book.
Some of the Thoenes' decisions were interesting to me. For instance, Mary of Bethany is conflated with Mary Magdalene. Also, Jesus doesn't really weep--an odd choice.
Still, the story points to Jesus as Lord and I would endorse it to readers of Biblical fiction and those who wish to encounter Jesus in a new light.
At a Kindle price of under $3 on Amazon, it's a deal!
Back Cover Copy:
Lazarus holds interest well beyond this miraculous event. Living in
Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus witnessed many of the most important
events of Jesus's life and ministry. Lazarus owned a vineyard and
devoted his life to caring for its vines and fruit. But he encountered
another man---Jesus---whose vineyard was the world, its fruit the
eternal souls of men. When Lazarus's story and the story of Jesus's
crucifixion and resurrection touch in When Jesus Wept, we are offered a
unique vision into the power and comfort of Christ's love. Brock and
Bodie Thoene's most powerful and climactic writing project to date, When
Jesus Wept, captures the power and the passion of the men and women who
lived through the most important days in the history of the world.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of review. A positive review was neither required nor expected.