To be captivated means something grips and holds your attention. You can’t help but to look with attention. When Jesus was being tried and crucified the surrounding people were captivated by what was happening. Sometimes we who live two thousand plus years need to look at the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection and be captivated by those events again.
In Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti Anyabwile (Pastor T) encourages us to take some time to behold the events of Jesus’ death and Resurrection. Pastor T asks us to “stare into the mystery of the cross and resurrection…to stare at Jesus and be captivated by Him.” Pastor T takes us beneath the surface of the events that happened over two thousand years ago and helps us discover what they mean for us here and now.
In Captivated, Pastor T digs deeper into Jesus death and resurrection by looking at five questions, the first is when Jesus is in the Garden asking is there any other way? The second is when Jesus is on the cross, “My God My God why have you forsaken me?” The third is Paul’s rhetorical question, “O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The fourth is the question that the angels ask, “why do you seek the living among the dead?” The fifth is when the two travelers to Emmaus ask Jesus, “do you not know these things?”
When Jesus was in Gethsemane he asked the Father, “is there any other way?” The silence of heaven gave Jesus his answer. This chapter goes into detail and explains not only what Jesus experienced in that garden but the why too. The death of the Son of God was the only way. Pastor T points out;
no more perfect way existed for the beauty, splendor weightiness, and fame of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – to be displayed except Jesus drink the cup of God’s wrath and accomplish our salvation.
Captivated takes us back to the messianic Psalm that Jesus quoted from the cross, Psalm 22. “Why have you forsaken men?” This chapter goes into detail about the emotional and spiritual forsakeness Jesus went through for you and I.
“Death is dead. We have won.” Such a simple but deep statement Pastor T makes. This chapter explains Jesus’ death means death for death. The curse is broken that is why the Apostle Paul can say, “O Death where is your sting?” For the Christian, death is the passage way to eternal life with Jesus in heaven.
The shock and awe of all that Jesus’ followers were experiencing when Jesus died was deep. When the women arrived at His tomb to discover no body, Pastor T explains that the angels question, “why do you seek the living among the dead?” is to redirect their thoughts. Pastor T explains;
We most need redirection from emotion to Scripture when our feelings are strongest and our experiences surprising. In such situations we need to be turned to God’s Word because this is when our feeble hearts and minds are most vulnerable. This question powerfully redirects the mourning disciples from their emotions and fear to the solid promises and reality of the Gospel.
Finally, Pastor T ends answering the question, “Do you not know these things?” In this chapter Pastor T gets us thinking about epistemology which means any theory on how we know things. He points out that there are insufficient ways and a sufficient way to know the truth about Jesus. He also discusses what it means to embrace the truth when it is revealed to us.
This book was a great read. Simple and quick read, but very contemplative and deep. It enriches how you see Jesus’ death and resurrection. Great for devotional or small group study. I plan to use it to get my family to focus on lent.
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