One of the Best Books of the Year – a Must Read – Sunday Times
In the New Testament, we are told that Jesus resurrected a beloved friend named Lazarus from the dead. Yet the Gospel of John – which contains this episode – does not tell us how Jesus accomplished this miracle or if he had a special purpose for saving his companion.
In The Gospel According to Lazarus, Richard Zimler narrates this mysterious and influential story from Lazarus’ own point of view.
After he is awakened from death, Lazarus has difficulties regaining his previous identity and confidence. His experience of death has left him fragile and disoriented, and his newfound fame is a burden he does not want. Worse, his faith has been shattered because he remembers nothing of any afterlife.
In compelling flashbacks, we learn of Lazarus’ initial meeting with Jesus – during their boyhood in Nazareth – and discover how he came to earn his friend’s trust and gratitude. Back in the present time – during the Passion Week – Jesus tells him, however, that their meeting as young boys was no accident and offers a surprising explanation for why he brought them together.
After Jesus’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Lazarus concludes that his whole life may have been a test for this chance to save his beloved friend from crucifixion. But will Jesus accept Lazarus’ final sacrifice?
In Zimler’s impeccably researched and highly moving novel, Jesus is presented as a mystical healer within the context of ancient Jewish practice and tradition. Indeed, one of the objectives of this novel was to restore to him and the other characters their Judaism.