Two things caused me to select When Jesus Wept:
1. The Lenten season was upon us, and the title seemed in step with Jesus’s journey as He moved closer to the cross; and
2. The cover artwork is astounding and held great meaning for me.
Additionally, I had heard nothing but good things about Bodie and Brock Thoene and their writings. I confess I had perused their books in the past but had never read one. Still, reading my first Thoene book would be enjoyable based on friends’ comments.
When Jesus Wept chronicles the life of Lazarus beginning as his 30-day period of grieving had ended. According to his people’s customs, Lazarus was now allowed to return to begin his life over without his wife and newborn son. Ironically, he had just passed his 30th birthday.
The reader watches as Lazarus travels to experience John the Baptist’s teachings, his first meeting with Jesus, the Roman treatment of his people and others, and so many other experiences involving Jesus’s teachings and life.
Unfortunately, for me at least, it is difficult to read Biblical stories in the context of a novel. I had never attempted this before. Although I believe the Thoenes’ have done their research and their factual information is mostly correct, I found myself questioning some things as I read.
One Biblical question that arose for me surrounded the Marys involved in Lazarus’s story. The implication in the book is that Mary, the sister of Lazarus, and Mary Magdalene are the same woman. I have my own personal doubts about this. Having done research on Mary Magdalene for a presentation on her involvement at the time of the resurrection, I do not see her as being the Mary highlighted in the Bible as Lazarus’ sister, the servant who anointed Jesus’s with expensive perfume.
Also, the looseness of the story once it moved from a Biblical note or story back to the thread of Lazarus’s life as a novel troubled me. I realize, as a writer, the need for character development and dialogue in this particular genre. However, for me, that part of the book never had a tight fit as I read. I admit to skipping several pages from time to time.
This book is the first in the Jerusalem Chronicles series. I seriously doubt I will pick up the next.
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I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.