Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile
Have you ever experienced the excitement of something familiar becoming new again when witnessing it through the eyes of a child? I actually have no wish for every parent to inherit a live wire such as I was when I was young. By the many family accounts told to me over the years, had there been a designation of ADHD in those years, I would have qualified. I must have been a handful. Stories were told how my parents had to wheel me down the center of aisles while shopping, because if we got too close to the merchandise, I would grab it. In spite of precautions, they still had to look for “surprises” in the shopping cart before checking out. I wanted to know what was inside all those packages, boxes and cans. And if they set me down, I took off like a wind-up toy. I had no fear in the thrill of pursuing something new.
Of course, I don’t remember any of the above antics. But I do remember discovering an ant hill and the fascination of watching it for hours. It was better than TV. I remember lying on my back in the grass on warm sunny days watching the fluffy cloud figures float by. In my imagination, they were characters and the scenarios I created in my head kept me enthralled.
I was transfixed watching fish swimming around in their clear glass environments in the pet stores. The big ditches near the farms I lived close to were teaming with life that kept me mesmerized in my pre-teen years.
And I remember the first time I stared into a stereoscope and discovered an entire world of tiny microscopic creatures. It was captivating. The more I searched these miniature worlds, the more I saw. The excitement of discovery was unparalleled.
Enthralled, transfixed, fascinated, mesmerized, captivated…Do you associate these terms with Easter: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday? Or is it all about the bunny?
Pastor and author Thabiti Anyabwile invites us to take a long hard look at the events and mysteries surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. If we look intently enough we may uncover what has fascinated so many other followers for millennia.
“Perhaps the Scriptures most forcefully beckon us to ‘come and see’ when various writers ask profound questions in connection with Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Those questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning. The Scriptures question us so that we might look beneath the surface to find more of the never ending treasures of Christ.”
There are only five chapters in this densely packed, 95-page book. Each chapter was originally part of a series of sermons examining questions posed by participants in the passionate events of Jesus’ final days on earth and His resurrection. What do these questions reveal?
- In the first question, “Is There No Other Way?” the author brought to light two astounding factors I had never fully thought through: The Cosmic Contradiction and the Silent No.
- In the second question, “Why Have You Forsaken Me?” our attention is drawn to the emotional trauma of desertion and abandonment. Torture on the cross was not only physical, but emotional.
- The third question is a quote from the apostle Paul as he pondered Jesus’ death; “Where, O Death, is Your Victory?” The author reminds us of something we consistently forget: the death of Death.
- The fourth question was actually posed by an angel, “Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?” Angels are messengers who bring us announcements from God. Why did this angel ask a question instead?
- The fifth question, “Do You Not Know These Things?” is a bit of irony. Jesus joined a couple of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, but they didn’t recognize Him! So the author asks us, how do we know Jesus?
Like the parents who experienced the excitement of something familiar becoming new again when witnessing it through the eyes of a child, I felt thrilled and, yes, captivated by the fresh perspectives shared in this book. I enthusiastically give it a thumbs up for anyone who wants to experience Easter new again.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC)on behalf of Reformation Heritage Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”