Second Reformed Church

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: "Captivated"

Captivated:  Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile was originally delivered as a series of five sermons at First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands.

Anyabwile delivered these sermons in the hopes that his congregation – and now his readers – would take time to be look at the death and resurrection of Jesus and be captivated by what one sees.  Although we are taught not to stare, Anyabwile argues that there is a right time to stare – and on historical matters of eternal significance, we do well to stare, consider, and be captivated (1-3).

The first sermon considers if God could have accomplished the salvation of His people by some other means than Jesus drinking that horrific cup.  He concludes: “The only way for us to please and glorify God is by picking up our cross daily and following Jesus.  In Gethsemane, Jesus shows us not only what God has done for man but also what man owes God” (18).

The second sermon considers the forsakenness of Jesus, whether it was real, and why it matters.  He concludes that Jesus must have really been forsaken by God in order for we who believe not to be forsaken by God.

The third sermon considers Jesus real death and how His death means that we who believe will not eternally die, for death has died in Christ, so we have life,

The fourth sermon looks at the Resurrection and how its historical reality moves our eyes from current event to the Providence of God (69).  It is only through the Resurrection that we can have hope and joy.

The final sermon looks at the Emmaus road encounter.  Anyabwile looks at “three insufficient ways of knowing the truth about Jesus and the resurrection” (79), the “one infallible way of knowing the truth of Jesus and the resurrection” (85), and “three important insights we must embrace” (87).

Each sermon has a series of study and reflection questions after it.

At a time when “everybody” knows “all there is to know” about the death and Resurrection of Jesus, 

Anyabwile is right in challenging us to look at the events with fresh eyes that we might truly believe, understand, and be filled with joy.

This book is well used for devotional reading and for small group study.  

I encourage believers to read and revisit and to use this book as a tool to introduce non-believers to what they think they already know.

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