When Jesus Wept, The Jerusalem Chronicles Series #1
Two thoughts about this book: How do the Thoenes write the way they do? And: I am sure glad that When Jesus Wept is the first in a new series.
I may have been sitting on my couch in an April afternoon reading the first chapter of this book, but my mind was with David ben Lazarus in Israel as he rode among the grapevines.
This book is written so vividly that the heat can be felt, the grapes can be tasted and you want to pet the pleasant faced goats that follow you through the vineyards.
The scene, Israel under Roman oppression during the time Jesus began to publicly minister, comes to life. As you read you understand a little of the turmoil and pain that being Jewish under Roman rule must have involved.
Biblical events such as John's Baptizing and The Wedding at Cana are woven into the story and the character's lives, allowing you to read the Scriptures with richer eyes.
The characters themselves are complex and carefully imagined: David ben Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, and Jesus, as well as the invalid by the pool and the blind beggar that Jesus healed.
In this novel, Martha and Lazarus's sister Mary is the sensitive young one whom Lazarus married off to an old man in a profitable business deal. Now she is the wealthy widowed Mary of Magdala, who is still seeking love in broken relationships.
Lazarus is bearing his own pain... the loss of his dear bride and their first child in childbirth, the loss of his best friend in an act of Roman cruelty.
And Martha, sensible and sturdy, trying to serve her brother and praying for Mary to come home.
This book is written so that the emotions and spirit of the characters glow.
These men and women can see the brutality and injustice of the Romans, and the hypocrisy and corruption of the religious leaders, and they want Israel purged of these sins.
They hope the the Messiah will do so, ushering in God's blessing on the nation.
Do they realize their own hearts need cleansing and forgiveness, and that God may have another way of bringing His Kingdom?
All of them are asking the question: Is this Nazarene the Messiah?
I love the way the Thoene's write about Jesus, with passion and reverence and joy. You delight in your Savior when you read their books.
Open this book and experience the days when Jesus walked in Israel though the eyes of David ben Lazarus, vintner of Bethany.
Thank you for writing a great beginning to a new series, Mr and Mrs. Thoene! And thank you Litfuse for sending me a copy of When Jesus Wept.