Friday, November 25, 2005

Book Recommendation-The Passion of Jesus Christ-Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die-by John Piper

This wonderful book is not an official spin off of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”, but there is a connection in subject and timing. Piper wrote this book after Gibson announced his movie. He had two concerns about the movie. These were not intended to comment on the movie, as it hadn’t been completed yet. His first concern was that in narrowing the focus to the last hours of Christ’s earthly ministry that His teaching may be short-changed, and he predicted the movie would raise charges of anti-Semitism and debate over “Who killed Jesus?”

He was right-while the movie contained some flashbacks showing teaching, they were not the main focus of the film. And it certainly ignited a debate. But this is not a review of the movie, but a review of Piper’s book.

Piper wrote fifty short chapters on the theme, “Christ suffered and died…”, and completes that sentence fifty ways. If that sounds like overkill, it isn’t, in some ways there is still more he could have written about the depth of Christ’s love in His sacrifice on the cross. This is a book that is easy to read, but also tough in spots, as often I had to stop reading to really absorb what it was saying, to look deeper into the Bible, and to pray. This book could easily be used for devotions or small groups, taking a two page chapter at a time.

Piper begins the book by explaining his purpose, and setting the scene. He begins by answering who killed Jesus. His answer? God. He writes, “It is a staggering thought. Jesus was His Son. And the suffering was unsurpassed. But the whole message of the Bible leads to this conclusion.”

Not the sort of opening you’d normally expect.

I won’t list all fifty ways Piper finishes the sentence, “Christ suffered and died…”, but encourage you to read this book for yourself. It’s not a long book (122 pages), but it is a powerful book, and gets to the root of the Gospel.
It is very Christ-centred.

Piper ends the book with a prayer for all the readers, that they would see their need, and go to Christ. He prays we will see God’s power and love shown in Christ’s sacrifice. He prays this for Christians to be strengthened and non Christians to believe. With or without this book, that is a wonderful prayer.

You can read excerpts and order the book by clicking here.


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