Monday, April 22, 2013

When Jesus Wept by Bodie & Brock Thoene

This is the first novel in a new series by the Thoenes called the Jerusalem Chronicles. This is a novel about Lazarus, the owner of a vineyard in Bethany. Living there with him is his sister Martha. We learn that his half sister Mary is living a distance away. She is an embarrassment to the family, having taken up with a Roman soldier after her older husband from an arranged marriage died.

We follow Lazarus as he first learns of John the Baptist and then goes with a friend to hear him. Lazarus is present when Jesus arrives and is baptized. Lazarus is at his cousin's wedding in Cana when Jesus changes the water to wine. While Lazarus is noted for his fine wine, he is amazed when he tastes that which Jesus has produced.

The friendship between Lazarus and Jesus deepens as their lives intersect. Mary's life is changed by Jesus after she is caught in the act of adultery. And Lazarus must face his bitterness toward a man who was a traitor to Lazarus' father years ago.

The novel is rich with insight into the political situation of the time. We also learn a great deal about vineyards and vine dressing. We also read about the devastation of locusts and a plague that comes upon Jerusalem. Lazarus is quick to help the victims but then becomes one himself.

This is another in the line of great historical novels from the Thoenes. I am always concerned with novels of the time of Jesus for putting words in His mouth not recorded in the gospels makes me very nervous. I think the Thoenes did a fine job with respect to that in this novel.

One aspect of the novel that did make me uneasy was Lazarus' experiences while dead. It was presumptuous, I think, to write of his experience in heaven. I found his encounter with Joseph to be rather odd. I think it would have been better to have left that whole part out, since it is all speculation.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book. You can find other reviews here.

Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) are bestselling authors of over sixty-five works of historical fiction, selling more than 35 million copies. They have won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards. The Thoenes have four grown children and eight grandchildren. They divide their time between Hawaii, London, and Nevada. Find out more about them at

Zondervan, 336 pages. Please visit your local Christian bookstore to purchase this book.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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