Book Review: When Jesus Wept

16 Apr

335931_w185Lazarus occupies a surprising position in the Gospel accounts. Widely known as the man Jesus raised from the dead, his story is actually much broader and richer than that. Living as he did at Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus was uniquely placed to witness the swirl of events around Jesus.When Jesus Wept, the first novel in The Jerusalem Chronicles series by bestselling authors Bodie and Brock Thoene, unfolds the turbulent times in Judea during Jesus’ ministry, centering on the friendship between Jesus and Lazarus. With rich insights from vineyard owners and vine dressers, the Thoenes explore the metaphor of Jesus as the True Vine, harvesting the ancient secrets found in the Old Testament.

Weaving the life of Lazarus, who owned a vineyard, into the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ will help you understand it is the hand of Love Divine that holds the knife, that cuts and breaks with such tender and loving touch, and that we who have born some fruit, after the pruning, can bear much more.

BThoene-130Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) are bestselling authors of over sixty-five works of historical fiction. Their timeless classics have sold more than thirty-five million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards. The Thoenes have four grown children and eight grandchildren. They divide their time between Hawaii, London, and Nevada.

My Impressions:

Lazarus is a famous character from the Bible due to his being brought back to life after being dead for four days! Yet little is shared in the Biblical record about him. We know he lived in Bethany, was brother to Mary and Martha, was a friend of Jesus, and often had Jesus and His disciples in his home. But nothing else is really known about him or his time in the grave before being called forth by Jesus. Brock and Bodie Thoene have taken the Biblical record and considerably expanded on it in their newest book, When Jesus Wept. What results is a well-researched and intimate portrayal of Lazarus — a what-if study of his life, death and faith in Jesus.

To me the best parts of When Jesus Wept are the depictions of the political and commercial cultures of first century Israel. The political intrigue in the Temple is shown in a way that make the reader really get what was facing Jesus’ assertions of divinity. The Thoene’s also show a great deal of knowledge of the world of vineyards and wine making along with other commercial aspects such as day labor and slavery.

The depictions of Jesus’ teaching and miracles are seen through the eyes of Lazarus, a reluctant participant at first, and  later a devoted follower. The faith of Lazarus is deepened following his resurrection, and the feelings portrayed are poignant. In the book, Lazarus is a party to many of the accounts in scripture, and his life experiences are used by Jesus in His parables. This is stretching the characterization a bit, but we are definitely talking fiction here.

The one caveat I have about When Jesus Wept is the author’s identification of Mary of Bethany. They portray her not only as Lazarus’ sister, but also the same woman as Mary of Magdala and the unnamed woman caught in adultery. Some Biblical scholars are in agreement with them, but I, like many others, feel these women were 3 distinct people. I have to say that it bothered me a bit, but did not, in the end, spoil my enjoyment of the book.

So if you are a fan of Biblical fiction, or just want a what-if account of the Jesus’ life and times, pick up When Jesus Wept.


(Thanks to LitFuse and Zondervan for my copy of When Jesus Wept. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

For more reviews, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.


Celebrate the release of When Jesus Wept with the Thoenes by entering their iPad Mini giveaway and RSVPing to their {4/23} Facebook Author Chat party!
One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A brand new iPad Mini
  • A book club kit – 10 copies of When Jesus Wept

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 22nd. Winner will be announced at the “When Jesus Wept” Author Chat Party on 4/23. Connect with the Thoenes, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Jerusalem Chronicles series, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be fun giveaways – gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of When Jesus Wept and join Bodie and Brock on the evening of the April 23rd for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)


One Response to “Book Review: When Jesus Wept”


  1. Book Review: When Jesus Wept | BY THE BOOK | Media Point - O Ponto de Encontro de todos os interessados nos Media! - April 16, 2013

    […] Read more here: Book Review: When Jesus Wept | BY THE BOOK […]

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