This fresh re-telling of the Easter story from the Last Supper to Calvary brings many new insights. The intrigue and betrayal in the air as the disciples ate; the fierce, costly love shown by Christ in Gethsemane, as his disciples slept; the illegal and unjust kangaroo court in the middle of the night; the drama of the earth becoming dark and quaking as the Son of God died. Read the story anew, as told and interpreted by this pastor-theologian.
Questions included for personal reflection or for group discussion.
Excerpt: Fierce, costly love
In Gethsemane Jesus turned to his disciples in his very human suffering seeking human solace. As the Psalmist had written: ‘Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none’. How much the memory of Mary of Bethany’s anointing must have meant to him. Evidently she understood. On Calvary as the Son of God lost the last consciousness of his Father’s love and presence, our forgiveness would be won.
In the Lord’s final words in the Garden he tells his disciples to sleep on, then seems immediately to ask them to wake up as it is time to leave. We can assume that some hours passed in between; hours in which Christ sat watching over them as they slept. What a picture of love when he was in need. As the Psalmist wrote, ‘He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep’. It is a strangely peaceful scene as Christ thinks thoughts of love beyond human expression – fierce, costly love – revealing the longing heart of God. This is the message of Gethsemane. And this was the scene on which Judas and the Roman soldiers arrived, so Judas could betray Jesus.
What people say:
“From time to time a publication appears – of modest size and author – its value greater than a whole bookshelf of bestsellers. The Cross falls in that category. The fine quality of James Philip’s mind will be immediately obvious. But his writing is also full of pathos. He is at one with his subject, and has clearly been more deeply impacted by it than by anything else.” – Revd Prof Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary
“This is the kind of book which needs wide distribution. I believe it will soon get talked about, and passed around friends and churches. It takes the reader from the Upper Room to Calvary and as we follow the Lord Jesus we get to know him better, and gain a new understanding of the cost to him and to God the Father of his death.” – Amazon reader
“I loved the writing – James Philip’s phrases were new and telling. And at the back is a study guide which would be great for church groups or for student groups. Buy it – you will be coming back for more copies. Guaranteed!” – Amazon reader
Pre-order now: available 1st September 2020.