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Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile

This short book on the death and resurrection of Jesus by Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile is a timely look at the central crux of the Christian faith.  In five succinct chapters, Thabiti draws out the implications of the cross and resurrection through the lens of Scripture, from the Gospels and Paul’s writings.  The profound consequences of Thabiti’s study are a renewed faith in the gospel and a firm grasp of the apostolic roots of the events surrounding Jesus’ last days.  The book starts with a look at Jesus identifying with us in every way despite sin and revealing the Father’s love for us through the Son’s suffering. 

One of the highlights of the book was Thabiti’s insistence that the ministry of Jesus revealed the Father’s character at every step.   The sorrowful Jesus reveals the Father’s brokenness over sin (11).  Not an aloof monarch but a patient and compassionate being, God the Father has been through the full range of emotions that Jesus as the fully human/fully divine God-man went through.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, the sorrowful and anguish ridden Jesus is met with the compassion of Loving Father.  We are captivated by this exchange in the gospel text, and yet we often fail to see how the Son of God relates to His Father. 

Secondly, Thabiti makes some strong pronouncements regarding the resurrection and the life that springs out of that truth.  He writes, “Life lived in light of the resurrection looks like a life of sacrificial love.” (66)  The most clear example of this is Jesus, who layed down his life for his sheep.  Even though this is central, we still need to be reminded that sacrificial love is at the heart of gospel living.  Giving of yourself, your talents and gifts, your money, for the cause of Christ is a glorious thing.  It’s hard to act sacrificially when so much of our culture points the finger back at yourself and what you might be missing out because you are loving others.  Yet, the joy of loving sacrificially is not found in the feeling of satisfaction but in the joy that it brings to others.  Finally, the believers joy in knowing that the resurrection awaits him brings joy to one’s soul because death cannot snatch us from Christ’s grip on us.  No fear or guilt should plague the Christian in an uncontrollable manner because the hope of every believer is the resurrection and being with Christ for all eternity. 

Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and Reformation Heritage Books for the copy of this book in exchange for review.


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