Book Review: The Final Days of Jesus
The Final Days of Jesus Authors: Andreas J Kostenberger & Justin Taylor
“The book covers Jesus’ final days. In these pages you will read the eyewitness accounts of what the most important person who ever lived said and did during the most important week of his life.”
Andreas J. Kostenburger and Justin Taylor had a very specific goal in writing this book. They wrote it to be used in conjunction with Holy Week, as a daily devotional that reminds the reader about the events that happened each day leading to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Holy Week Connection
If a book recommends that you read it during the seven days that lead to Easter, then is must have connection points that the authors believe will be valuable to the reader. In the case of The Final Days of Jesus the intended value is evident. Making your way through this book every day of the Holy Week offers the reader a intimate grasp on the daily action and words of Jesus.
The chapters of this book are separated by day, each offering a summary of the events and commentary from the authors.
The Summary of Events/ Printing of Scripture
The authors give summaries of the events that take place from Palm Sunday to Tuesday. Each day is broken down into several events and each event is given a summary and commentary from the authors. Starting on Wednesday, the summary of events is replaced with the scripture that is related to the events from each Gospel that records it.
The obvious intention then is that from Wednesday on, the reader will read each account of scripture before reading the author's commentary.
Two things really stood out as I read:
1) Organizing the book by the days of the Jesus’ final week helped me connect to the Easter story each day. By remembering the events that took place in Jerusalem that day, I was able comprehend the emotions and animation of the Disciples, Jewish leaders and the crowds as the days of Christ counted down.
2) The change from events summaries to Scripture was wonderful. I loved reading the gospel accounts of each events as I walked through the day with Jesus. Once being reminded of what was recorded in scripture, the commentary of the authors became a valued resource for helping me think through what that event meant and how the words of Christ were received.
The beauty of the message is easy to comprehend thanks in part to the method that the authors use. In fact my young children even enjoyed listening to me read it out loud because of the way the authors separated the events to allow for short burst of reading. As I read it out loud to them, they would anticipate which event would come next.
The Commentary of the Authors
Sometimes commentary in books with historical timelines can be exhausting and lack value. This is not the case with “The Final Days of Jesus.” Kostenberger and Taylor set out to give summary that conservatively sticks to scripture while also adding constructive highlighting of Biblical themes and moments that lead to greater understanding and appreciation for the experiences of Jesus.
The commentaries include reminders of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy, interesting information about Jewish customs and practices, well thought out distinctions in theology as well as maps of the journey of Jesus as he was passed from one governing body to the next until Golgotha. The commentary of these authors is interesting, and helpful; especially while reading them in conjunction with the day of the week that represents when Jesus experienced each event.
Though the book is not necessarily quotable, it is very helpful and wonderfully accomplishes the task that the authors intended. This book should indeed be used in junction with Holy Week and can even be used to help walk your family through the events leading to Easter.