When Jesus Wept, The Jerusalem Chronicles Series #1 -eBook
My new favorite book!
When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene is my new favorite book. Bodie and Brock Thoene have been preferred authors of mine for many years, so when I saw a book written by them offered on Book Sneeze, I knew I had to review it. I got the e-book, so it is not taking up room on my very crowded bookshelves, but I will be rereading it in the future. In fact, I plan to read it aloud to my family on our next road trip.
When Jesus Wept is the story of Lazarus or David ben Lazarus, as he is known in this book. I have always loved Bible stories told with the fleshing out of fictional details, as long as the story remains true to the Bible, and this one does. The stories of Jesus in the Gospels are interwoven in a few years of the life of Lazarus in an amazing way. We donÃ¢ÂÂt know if his sister, Mary, was the woman caught in adultery, but she might have been. In this story, she was, and the encounter changed her forever, and she became a devoted Christ-follower who poured out her life in service.
Did you ever wonder why Lazarus died the first time? In this story, his death was the result of his service to Jerusalem Sparrows, homeless street orphans.
I had never thought about how Lazarus felt, being called back from where he was in Paradise. He very likely was having a wonderful time of reunion with his loved ones in that happy place. I had always just considered his sisters needing him on earth. Jesus had His reasons, no doubt one of them to prove His power over death and the grave just prior to His own death and resurrection. I got new insight into the parables and stories that Jesus told, because just perhaps, Jesus told them because of happenings in his friend, LazarusÃ¢ÂÂs life.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus became real people to me in this book, as I read of their lives, families, vocation, service, and friendship with Jesus. The Thoenes are excellent at the background information about the times, culture, politics, even the landscapes, of the Holy Land where the story takes place.
I canÃ¢ÂÂt say enough good things about this book! I highly recommend that you get a copy and read it a few times! IÃ¢ÂÂm anxious for that road trip to read it aloud and see what else I can learn along the way.
May 16, 2013
When Jesus Wept
I have been a huge fan of Bodie and Brock Thoene ever since I read In My Father's House way back in 1992. Their writing transports me into the time and culture of the characters they write aboutÃ¯Â»Â¿. I've felt immersed in war torn Jerusalem, the American Great Depression and the famine of the 1840's in Ireland. I've only read the first three books of the A.D. Chronicles, but they made me feel as though I walked the dusty roads and saw sheep grazing and shepherds as I travelled with the Lord. Brock and Bodie Thoene made the biblical accounts come alive while still preserving their integrity and the truth of their message.
I was so excited when I saw that a new series was being released. When Jesus Wept has been on my to-read list for months. Maybe I was too excited, or my expectations overly high. Perhaps I have put the Thoene's on an unreachable pedestal, but I did not feel immersed in the culture like I did in the A.D. Chronicles and the story of Lazurus did not come alive to me in quite the same way their other stories did. In fact, portions of the A.D. Chronicles are retold in this book.
The prologue, which is repeated later on as the climax of the story is the most profound and powerful part of this story. "His sigh shook the universe" ...just a sigh..and "on a clear night constellations above the earth reflect on the still surface of the sea. But here. Only one of Jesus' tears contains a galaxy." ...just a single tear...they are such powerful statements. The magnitude of these thoughts made me think how much more our Lord really is, more than we can really fathom in our finite minds. I am in awe of how magnificient He will be face to face.
The Thoene's use the comparisons of the vine and the vinedresser throughout this novel rightfully declaring the Lord as the the true vine and the Father as the vine dresser. "Vineyards. The only crop I know where a hardship in the maturing makes the end result exquisite." "Only the vinedresser knows what will make the best wine. The vine is stressed - it reaches deep for the water, the shoots are pruned, the clusters thinned, and in the end the fruit is richer and the wine is full of character and grace. Though the growing may be difficult, God will be glorified a the end of every righteous man's story."
When Jesus Wept, by Bodie and Brock Thoene is currently available for purchase from your local or online book retailer.
Thank you Zondervan and Litfuse Group for the free copy to reaÃ¯Â»Â¿d in exchange for my honest review.
April 20, 2013
Inspirational biblical fiction
Before he called me forth from the grave, Jesus wept. . . . Jesus groaned, and the heads of angels and saints turned to look down upon the earth in wonder.
Thus begins When Jesus Wept, book #1 in "The Jerusalem Chronicles" by Bodie and Brock Thoene. Taking what little is known about Lazarus from the Scriptures, they skillfully use their biblical knowledge and imagination to weave a moving narrative of what-could-have-been against the backdrop of political unrest at the time.
Lazarus . . . The man Jesus raised from the dead in one of the most extraordinary encounters with the living Savior in all of Scripture. But the life of Lazarus holds interest well beyond this miraculous event. Living in Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus witnessed many of the most important events of Jesus' 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.
This novel is extremely well researched, and that alone adds much depth and interest to the narrative. In fact, one of its strengths is how vividly it shows the greed, lust for power, political turmoil and danger of the times. Most of the words that Jesus spoke were taken straight from the Scriptures and indicated by footnote. And I loved seeing how the Jewish people sung or chanted passages from the Psalms as they traveled to celebrate feast days. Their familiarity with and memorization of Scripture was inspirational.
Scripture doesn't indicate what occupation Lazarus had, so he is portrayed as a highly respected vineyard owner - and the themes of cultivating grapes, pruning, wine making, and Jesus as the vine are prominent throughout. It is interesting to see Lazarus interact with familiar characters such as John the Baptist, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus.
One questionable aspect is that the authors identify Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, and the unnamed woman caught in adultery as one and the same. While some commentators take this position, it is not universally held as being accurate. But when it comes to biblical fiction, I remind myself that it is exactly that - fiction - and find inspiration in these characters and events during Christ's ministry.
The story is told through the voice of Lazarus, which could be why the character of Martha wasn't fleshed out at all. Reviews are subjective, so other people will have different opinions, but I didn't feel a strong connection with Lazarus or sense the close relationship he had with Jesus.
One of my favorite parts was the scene in heaven during the four days Lazarus was in the grave - a reunion, but also a glimpse at what was to come. In the words of Lazarus: "I stood in wonder in the midst of the ancient ones as they spoke of what was, what is, and what will be. Love. Envy. Rejection. Betrayal. Suffering. Victory. Exultation. Reunion. Forgiveness. Salvation. Restoration. Deliverance." And then, after being called forth from the tomb, "Of all those who witnessed my return from the vineyards of heaven to fallen earth, only Jesus knew what joy and beauty I had left behind."
I enjoyed When Jesus Wept overall and am eager to read more books by this talented husband and wife team. Recommended to those who enjoy inspirational biblical fiction.
For more information, visit the Bodie and Brook's website at thoenebooks.com.
This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review.
May 17, 2013
This is a very good book
When Jesus Wept is a fiction story based on true events, Just like most of Bodie Thoene's other books. This one was based during the time when Jesus was performing miracles, including raising Lazarus from the dead. I don't always like books that are based on Bible Stories, especially when they are written as if they are true. That was not the case with this book. this is the Introduction to the book:
"Jesus clearly believed in the power of stories. He told parables-stories-to stretch the minds and transform the hearts of his listeners. We too believe in the life-changing power of stories, and thats why we're passionate about writing fiction. In every work of our fiction, there is truth, based on research, and there is imagination, based on our minds and perspectives. We weren't here, on this earth, as Jesus walked among the people, but through the verses of scripture and our imagination, we have portrayed to the best of our ability what he might have said and in the way he might have said it."
The Thoenes include many references to scripture to back up their stories. I thoroughly enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed the way it was written. Bodie Thoene is one of my favorite authors, and I knew I wouldn't be disappointed with her latest book.
The book, when Jesus wept, is mostly based on the life of Lazarus. He sees Jesus' miracles, meets and becomes friends with Jesus, experiences Jesus bringing him back to life, and is there for Jesus' crucifixion.
One thing that I found especially interesting was that Lazarus owns a vineyard. We recently planted grapes, and it was neat to read a professional who had done it.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone; especially anyone who is interested in learning what life might have been life during Jesus' life on earth.
May 16, 2013