Reviewed by: Lori Twichell Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Zondervan Publication Date: March 19, 2013
The shortest verse in the Bible is often quoted and sometimes bandied about. Jesus wept. It’s simple and sometimes can be put into odd context, but when really considered, it’s powerful. Living here amongst humanity with so much pain in front of him, and the Bible only mentions one time that Jesus wept. At the death of his friend, Lazarus.
In this latest outing from powerhouse authors Brock and Bodie Thoene, that one verse is explored, examined, and brought together in a gorgeous story that outlines the beautiful relationship that might have occurred between Lazarus and Jesus. In Thoene’s retelling of this tale, Lazarus is the owner of a prominent vineyard. Through tragedy, sacrifice, and blessing, he is able to follow the ministry of Christ. At first he’s ambivalent. He’s not interested in rocking the political boat or doing anything that would cause difficulty for his home/family. He watches from afar, and though intrigued, he’s not a full-fledged follower.
As events bring him closer and closer to the Master, he learns much more about his own faith, his God, and even his vineyard until he’s someone that can truly be called a friend of Jesus.
With thoughtful research and detailed description, the Thoenes bring to life this gorgeous story. Lazarus, his sisters and even his friends all become more than just characters. It’s easy to imagine how this all might have actually occurred. The depth of insight involving the scriptures and Christ’s teaching is amazing. As I was reading, I learned so much more about the stories Jesus told and why they could (and did!) mean so much more than just the surface explanations found in the Bible. The stories about trees producing fruit, vines and branches and wine were all explained in this book with vivid detail and beautiful descriptions.
Brock and Bodie Thoene have always been favorites of mine. I’ve been a rabid fan of their work since the earliest books and eagerly await each release that comes from them. That said, this book continued the tradition of excellence that I’ve found with their writing. It sounds cliché, but their characters really do come to life and as you’re reading, the descriptions are vivid enough that the movie unfolds within your mind.
This book was a wonderful journey for me and I would highly recommend it for anyone who loves historical fiction, the Thoenes, or learning more about Biblical times, it will be a great bonus on your library shelves.
Rated PG: Though this book is perfectly clean, there are some adult viewpoints and opinions. Anyone could read it, but not everyone can understand it. 🙂