On March 2, I posted 7 Reasons to Read the Final Days of Jesus. Today Justin Taylor answers questions regarding this new book he co-wrote with Andreas Kostenberger. The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived is a great resource to use in preparation for Holy Week. A free study guide is available.
Do you think not meditating enough on Holy Week is a common problem in our churches? Why is it important to study the events of the last week of Jesus’s life?
I certainly don’t think evangelicals are in danger of meditating too much on Holy Week. We tend to think, by default, that this is something reserved for more liturgical churches that celebrate Holy Days. But if the subtitle of our book is true—if this really is “the most important week of the most important person who ever lived”—then it is well worth our efforts not only to read through these accounts, and not only to do so once a year, but to make it a part of our best meditation throughout our Christian lives. As we witness these final days, every action and word of Jesus counts. He is setting things in motion to bring the conflict to a resolution and to accomplish our very salvation. By watching him closely in action, through the reading of his Word, we can grow in true worship of our incomparable Savior!
Has your opinion on the order of events changed much from what you’ve written in previous blog posts during Holy Week?
No, not radically. But one of the things that I’ve seen in working on this project is that there’s always more to see in what we see. If I can compare it to watching television, it’s the difference in going from a show in black-and-white with sketchy reception to full-color high definition. The plot and order and characters remain the same, but there is so much more to see as we look closely at a more crisp and defined picture.
Is this book more academic or devotional? Who will benefit from reading it?
We intentionally designed the book to be a hybrid of sorts. We hope it’s accessible and informed by the best of evangelical scholarship. Readers will not find a plethora of footnotes and technical discussions. At the same time, it’s different than simply offering “thoughts for the day.” It’s a book for serious readers who are interested in seeing the complete biblical text in chronological order, in a harmony format, with charts, glossary, maps, and commentary designed to illumine the theological and exegetical key points with helpful cultural and historical backgrounds provided. We think it’s one of those rare books that could be used as easily by pastors as by families, individuals, and small groups.
What did Jesus do early in the week that was perceived as a threat to the existing powers and structures?
In short, virtually everything! I think you use the right word here, Chris. He was viewed as a “threat.” From his triumphal entry to his cursing of the fig tree to his parables to his cleansing of the temple to his interactions with the Jewish leaders, everything about his words and actions was a challenge to their perception of their own religious, political, social, and financial stability. Instead of a Messianic figure that would endorse their man-made traditions and overthrow Rome, Jesus was the humble servant who came to seek and save those who knew they were sick and lost, and he would do it by dying for sinners and rising from the dead. They had no categories for this, and so their only choice was to seek his elimination.
What was one thing you learned from Andreas during this project? Did you get together in person to work on this project or did you mostly partner with one another from a distance?
Through the wonders of technology we were mainly able to work on it via email, with an occasional phone call and face-to-face conversation. I learned many specific things from Andreas throughout the project, but the one thing I’d mention is something more general and overarching: the man is humble, teachable, and submissive to the text. He is a world-class New Testament scholar who has taught around the world, authored a major commentary on the Gospel of John, co-authored a New Testament introduction, and co-authored a major hermeneutics textbook. His learning is prodigious and his productivity is legendary. And yet he does not lord his learning over others, but wants to continue to grow in the knowledge of the truth.
Tomorrow, I will put an interview with the co-author, Andreas Kostenberger.
- 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