Thursday 19 May 2016

Book Review: When Jesus Wept - The Jerusalem Chronicles Book 1 by Bodie and Brock Thoene


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’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.

My Review

This is the first book I've read from the Thoene's and I expect it won't be my last. I was drawn to reading a fictional account of the time of Jesus and was intrigued how the authors would portray all the well-known people of the Bible.

This story is told through the eyes of Lazarus. It begins with Lazarus mourning the loss of his wife and newborn son. It's not long before we see John the Baptist and then a little later Jesus of Nazareth. Lazarus clearly becomes one of Jesus' other disciples (outside the 12) as he often describes himself both spending a lot of time with Jesus but also with the twelve.

The novel is very easy to read, the pace is steady and for those of us familiar with the Gospels we see many events described first hand that we've read many times before. We get to participate through Lazarus' eyes some of Jesus miracles including His first, the wedding at Cana where He changed the water into wine. Lazarus being a winemaker by trade is naturally keen to taste this very special drop. The feeding of the 5,000 was another miracle that I enjoyed experiencing through the eyes of Lazarus.

I take it the authors have spent considerable time on research and they present some fascinating thoughts on some Biblical events and characters. One that I found really interesting was that Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene and the adulterous woman of John 8 are all the same woman. This kinda blew my mind but I understand this is one popular and well-chronicled perspective. I'm keen to research it a little further.

I also appreciated the view of heaven acknowledging this is a work of fiction and we have to allow some license when reading it. From the outset I was curious as to how the authors would portray the four days Lazarus lay dead in the tomb especially when the novel is written in his POV.

I'm looking forward to reading the second in the series. If you enjoy easy reading Biblical fiction I believe you'll find this novel appealing.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard was recognised as the best Speculative Fiction novel at the 2014 Selah Awards. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Intriguing concept Ian - thanks for the review :)

    1. Yes, Jeanette, there was much to this 'interpretation' I found intriguing. One of the reasons I so enjoy the power of fiction.


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