Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, by one of my favorite New Testament scholars and theologians, Dr. D.A. Carson is a great read for Holy Week, or anytime. Dr. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School since 1978, has penned over 50 books. In Scandalous, Carson has written a work on the cross and the resurrection suitable for individual or small group study, as well as meditation and reflection on the central events of our faith. He has written with characteristic depth of insight and wisdom. The chapters of the book are actually a collection of sermons preached by Dr. Carson at Mars Hill Church’s Bible Conference in 2008.
One of my favorite chapters of the book, Chapter 4, is an exposition John 11, Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead. Carson, in reference to Lazarus of Bethany in John 11:3, and other passages, reflects:
“I do think, though, that it is one of the common features of those who become intimate with Jesus that they think of themselves not as those who love him particularly well, but those who are particularly well loved by him.”
Clearly, Lazarus’ sisters thought of their brother as one well loved by the Master. How different is this perspective from the image that many Christ-followers have of themselves! Carson also cites John the apostle, who referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” or some variation, in John 13:23, 20:2, 21:7, and 21:20. Likewise, Carson notes that the apostle Paul includes the clause “who loved me and gave himself for me” in Galatians 2:20.
Although Chapter 4 was my favorite (owing mostly to John 11 being one of my favorite New Testament narratives), Dr. Carson also does great exegetical work with “The Ironies of the Cross” (Matthew 27), “The Center of the Whole Bible” (Romans 3), “The Strange Triumph of A Slaughtered Lamb” (Revelation 12), and “Doubting the Resurrection of Jesus” (John 20). Like any other study of Carson, the reader will emerge with fresh insights into each of these passages.
When meditating upon the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior, may we be reminded of the Scandalous love that took him to the cross on our behalf.
See also: The Depth of Christ’s Love, by John Piper.