If you’re looking for a solid, biblical, and devotional book on Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, you need to get Don Carson’s new one, Scandalous (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010). The premise of the book is this: “Nothing is more central to the Bible than Jesus’ death and resurrection. The entire Bible pivots on one weekend in Jerusalem about two thousand years ago” (p. 11).
The book consists of five chapters (around 170 pages) that explain some key texts about Jesus’ death and resurrection. The chapters were originally lectures that Carson gave at a 2008 Resurgence conference at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Here’s how the chapters break down.
Chapter 1: The Ironies of the Cross (Matthew 27.27-51a)
Chapter 2: The Center of the Whole Bible (Romans 3.21-26)
Chapter 3: The Strange Triumph of a Slaughtered Lamb (Revelation 12)
Chapter 4: A Miracle Full of Surprises (John 11.1-53)
Chapter 5: Doubting the Resurrection of Jesus (John 20.24-31)
This book basically reflects on the many beauties of the gospel. Carson writes very well: clear, understandable, and with a strong emphasis on Jesus’ saving work. Here are a couple of my favorite parts.
“It was not nails that held Jesus to that wretched cross; it was his unqualified resolution, out of love for his Father, to do his Father’s will – and, within that framework, it was his love for sinners like me” (p. 30).
“All Christian blessings and resources are grounded in the blood of the Lamb. From a Christian perspective, all the blessings and resources that are ours in Christ are grounded in the blood of the Lamb; they are secured by Jesus’ death and resurrection” (p. 99).
“Do you not understand that we overcome the accuser on the ground of the blood of Christ? Nothing more, nothing less. That is how we win. It is the only way we win. This is the only ground of our acceptance before God…. If you drift far from the cross, you are done. You are defeated. We overcome the accuser of our brothers and sisters, we overcome our consciences, we overcome our bad tempers, we overcome our defeats, we overcome our lusts, we overcome our fears, we overcome our pettiness on the basis of the blood of the Lamb. We dare to approach a holy God praying in Jesus’ name, appealing to the blood of the Lamb” (p. 103).
You’ll enjoy this book!