God's Favorite Place on Earth is a small, beautifully written book that tells the story of Jesus from the perspective of Lazarus.
Lazarus and his family, Mary, Martha and their father Simon the leper* lived in Bethany, a humble, quiet village whose name means the House of Figs. It was this village that Jesus went to again and again, and it was this family who opened their home to Him.
Scripture says He loved this family.
Jesus healed Simon of leprosy, and raised Lazarus from the dead.
He accepted Mary as a worshipper and encouraged her heart of adoration, and He gently chided Martha to come and rest in His presence.
It was in Bethany that Jesus ate with His disciples six days before the crucifixion, and it was at that supper that Mary broke the alabaster jar and poured her spikenard perfume over Him.
The scent of her love-gift filled the house, and lingered around the Lord as He hung on the Cross.
And it was Bethany that He returned to before He ascended.
The Mountain of Olives in Bethany was the spot Jesus ascended from, the last place His feet touched the ground before He went up into Heaven.
Truly, we have reasons to believe this village was God's Favorite Place on Earth.
Frank Viola's book tells this story with freshness and detail, pulling you into the life of Lazarus, his family, and their time with Jesus. The writing is reverent and lovely, perfect for devotional reading leading up to Easter. This book allows you to come close to the family in Bethany, and listen to the Teacher whom they loved.
Drawing the story from Scripture and weaving in quotes from Christian writers like Nouwen and Spurgeon, God's Favorite Place on Earth adds richly to our understanding of Jesus' life.
I highly recommend God's Favorite Place on Earth. I was given this book by David C Cook Publishing for my honest review.
*Frank Viola has come to the conclusion that Simon the Leper was most likely the father of Mary, Lazarus and Martha. I agree that this is reasonable. I will think of this from now on whenever I read the story about the family of Bethany.
God's Favorite Place on Earth.