The Final Days of Jesus // Andreas J. Kostenberger and Justin Taylor with Alexander Stewart

The Final Days of Jesus - The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived by Andreas J. Kostenberger & Justin Taylor with Alexander Stewart

I began reading this book at Easter, and recently finished this journey through ‘the most important week of the most important person who ever lived’. Tracing the events of the final week of Jesus’ life leading up to (and including) his death, burial and resurrection, I found this journey through the Easter story to be a refreshing and helpful way to ponder, meditate upon and think through these events which are so central to my faith and the faith of Christians across the globe.

Arranged with two primary elements to each chapter – namely the scripture passages from each of the gospel accounts, broken into appropriate sections and included one after the other for easy comparison, followed by commentary by the authors – this book serves certainly as a harmonisation of the gospel accounts, and also as a tool for bible study/personal devotion. If you have ever wanted to delve deeper into some of the criticisms levelled at the gospels by unbelievers, you will likely find this to be a helpful volume to read and keep in your library!

One drawback which I think could have been avoided by the authors, and would probably have helped me as a reader to progress through the book more quickly, is that the chapter for Good Friday is extremely long. Granted, this is an incredibly pivotal time period within the Easter week; however, the commitment to ‘one chapter per day’ could/should probably have been laid down here for the sake of readability and accessibility (at least for those of us who like to sit down to read at least a chapter at a time).

The only other minor points of constructive criticism that came to mind while reading were that the pages in the centre, detailing the movements of Jesus around Jerusalem and showing diagrams of the temple, etc. seemed lifted from the ESV Study Bible or some similar source and, while not out of place in a book like this, could have been better integrated (they sort of just appeared without much introduction, and typeset in a different font, etc.) Additionally, there were a couple of points of harmonisation I would have liked the authors to push harder into, or for which I would have liked them to reference further external scholarship, but it didn’t feel like major stones were left unturned, so to speak.

In short, this is a helpful, accessible gospel harmonisation and a brilliant way for individuals, families or small groups to walk through the most important week of the most important person who ever lived. If you choose to take it up and read, no matter what time of year, I trust you will be blessed as you look in detail at the greatness of God’s sacrificial death for sinners, through which He redeemed for Himself a people, a remnant, the bride of Christ.

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