The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived by Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor offers an accessible overview of Holy Week. Reading it will help you meditate on the beauty of Christ and will enrich your worship this Easter season. This book would make a wonderful resource for families and a great gift for someone considering Christ. A free study guide is available.
One of our central goals at The Red Brick Church is to equip and motivate our people to focus on Christ our King during Holy Week. I pray that our minds will be soaked in meditation on the Cross. As a part of that goal, I am making a number of posts available on line. These include summaries of:
- The order of events during Holy Week
- The people involved in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ
- Places Associated with Holy Week
- Important theological terms
The posts on my blog are not edited and particular articles or definitions are uneven in length and thoroughness. Admittedly, my blog posts are “rough drafts.” Hey, I’m a busy pastor.
The rough draft nature of my Easter posts is why I am thankful Andreas Kostenberger and Justin Taylor have published The Final Days of Jesus. They have made my task of motivating and equipping our congregation to worship Christ far easier. In a world full of death and darkness, this book will help us rinse our minds in the resurrection.
I will pubish brief interviews with the authors later this week. In the mean time, here are 7 reasons why I am encouraging our church family to buy and read The Final Days of Jesus:
1. Help with Harmonizing – Anyone who has closely studied Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John knows that at times it is difficult to see how the accounts fit together. For instance, compare the difference in wording of what was written above Jesus’s head on the Cross (John 19:19, Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38). Kostenberger and Taylor not only offer a harmonization, but they also give a wonderful explanation of how to read the gospel accounts responsibly and charitably (p. 19-20).
2. Parallel Gospel Accounts Brought Conveniently Together – The Final Days of Jesus is organized so that the Scripture for the events of each day is included in the text. Readers who want to read parallel accounts without flipping back and forth in their Bibles will benefit.
3. A Glossary and Reference Guide – If you are new to the Easter story, then simply the task of keeping track of the various Marys can send you over the edge of confusion. This is not to mention recalling who Caiaphas is or the Sanhedrin or Joseph of Arimethea. An alphabetized glossary and reference guide at the end makes it easy to look up anyone in the cast.
4. 21 Charts, Diagrams, and Maps – There is so much to “picture” when reading the Gospel accounts of Holy Week. Where did everyone sit at the Last Supper? Why was Peter motioning for John to ask Jesus who would betray him? Charts, diagrams, and maps provide resources that can quickly be reviewed.
5. Succinct Summaries – Kostenberger and Taylor blend depth and accessibility. Consider, for instance, their summary of Peter’s denial of Jesus.
Peter’s denial of Jesus stands as one of the most poignant and memorable events that transpired during Jesus’s final day. One of Jesus’s closest friends, a man who hours earlier had sworn to stand by Jesus no matter what the sacrifice or cost, denies even knowing Jesus and abandons him in his darkest hour. Pathos drips from the Gospel accounts— the tragedy is palpable, and Peter leaves the scene a broken man.
6. The Most Important Question Ever Asked is Directed to the Reader at the End – The first 202 pages of The Final Days of Jesus all lead up to the most important question about the most important person who ever lived, “Who do you say that he is?”
7. Holy Week is The Most Important Week of the Most Beautiful Person – Christ is the only true King. He deserves all our worship. There is nothing we could imagine that we would want in a savior that we do not find in Him. Nowhere is the beauty of Christ seen more vividly than in the biblical accounts of Holy Week. Seize this opportunity to look deeply at our Savior. The remaining items in this list are only miscellaneous observations. But this is the heart of the matter. Let’s think deeply of Christ.