Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection form the crux of the gospel. This is not to say that the death and resurrection of Jesus encapsulates everything about the gospel, but it does nicely summarize what the gospel is about. The Apostle Paul, throughout his book to the Romans and his other epistles, speaks often of the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Apostle Paul also speaks of the gospel in broader terms in his epistles such as justification, adoption, redemption, reconciliation, and several other words that round out a fuller perspective on what the gospel is and what it demands. As we reflect on the Easter season it is especially important for Christians to meditate on the question, “What is the Gospel?” Thankfully, Captivated: Beholding The Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile invites readers to stare into the mystery of the cross and the empty tomb.

Captivated begins with asking, “What are we meant to know about the defeat of death and the Christian hope? What might we know about knowledge itself, our epistemology?” (2). The author asks these questions so the reader will genuinely contemplate them and “stare at Jesus and be captivated by Him” (2). Each of the five chapters of this book seek to draw out the importance of understanding Jesus death, burial, and resurrection by highlighting how Jesus died in the place of sinners and for their sin. Furthermore, the book helps readers understand the beauty of Jesus’ finished work for all of life.

In particular, I enjoyed two aspects of this book. First, the examples used in this book were just as informative as the author’s explanation of the Scriptures. Often times, in my opinion, illustrations can be dangerous in that sometimes they take away from what the author is saying and leaves the reader confused about his/her point. In this book, however, Thabiti uses illustrations to open the reader’s understanding of Scripture. This is an approach I appreciate because it helps the reader think in terms that he/she can understand, with a view to help them grasp the teaching of Scripture. As is usual with Thabiti you can expect faithfulness to Scriptures, and writing that connects with his readers.

Finally—while I’ve read quite a few books over the years on Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection—what Captivated does so well is to get you thinking about these things from the perspective of the Word of God. In a day and an age when biblical Christianity is under attack from all sides, Thabiti’s emphasis on the death and resurrection of Jesus helps Christians grab hold of the centrality of these events for everyday life and to delight in the finished work of Jesus.

Captivated: Beholding The Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile is a beneficial work that will help new or mature Christians to understand what Jesus death and resurrection accomplished, and why it is essential to the entire Christian life. As you read this book, you’ll begin to grab hold of Christ’s suffering and resurrection for His people. This book is a great resource that will help new and seasoned Christians to gain insight on familiar events; all to help readers understand the Bible and love Jesus more. I highly recommend this book by Thabiti M. Anyabwile and pray the Lord uses it to help God’s people to stand firm in the truth of the Word of God.