Three great books…
On Sunday mornings we are back into John’s historical, best-friend account of Jesus’ life. It’s the home-stretch. Between now and Easter we will reach the end. Amazingly 42% of John’s 3-4 year account focusses on Jesus’ death and the few days around it. First as Jesus teaches about what it will mean (chapters 13-17) and then the events themselves (chapters 18-21). John’s massive magnification of Jesus’ death (above his birth and life and miracles and teaching) should tell us something. It really matters! It’s the most important thing we should know about Jesus.
To help us on this journey I am recommending three books on Jesus’ death – they are all excellent and full of truth and grace and awe and wonder. I’m recommending three because we are all different in what and how we like to read (and of course some of us won’t choose reading, and that’s fine!).
Death by Love, Mark Driscol & Gerry Breshears
Do you naturally think “people”? Is your default care and love and understanding how people are feeling and thinking? Do you love to spend hours talking with and learning about friends and are generally fascinated about life stories? Do you enjoy biography and TV documentaries?
Then ‘Death by Love’ by Mark Driscol and Gerry Breshears (2008) could be for you. It is twelve letters written by a pastor to (mostly) real people about how the cross of Jesus answers their life realities. It unpacks Jesus’ death for real people in real life. Some of the situations and letters are deeply emotional and painful; as rich in truth as in love. All are hope-filled.
The Cross of Christ, John Stott
Do you like to understand things – ideas, concepts, solutions? Do you like to be able to explain clearly and precisely what is going on? Are you more naturally drawn to logically working through ideas and being able to ‘understand the workings’ of an answer? Do you enjoy sustained wrestling with concepts? Does clarity matter to you?
If so the The Cross of Christ by John Stott (1986), a modern day classic might be for you. A careful but very readable and wonderfully enlightening study of Jesus’ death which as much clarifies our thinking as causes us to respond with joy and gladness at what has been accomplished for us.
Cross-Examined; the life changing power of the death of Jesus, Mark Meynell
Are you somewhere in the middle! Do you like to understand things and you love to understand and know people? Do you like to read and grapple with ideas but know there are also things to get on with and a life to live and the diary is busy? Do you need a book that can be interrupted and put down and picked up without it losing you?
Then Cross-Examined by Mark Meynell (2001) which also comes with a study guide you can use might well be for you. The shortest of the three books it is easy to read with plenty of illustrations and real life stories sown throughout.