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Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

By D. A. Carson
February 2011 | Review by Robert Strivens


With clarity and conviction, D. A. Carson unpacks what some of the earliest witnesses wrote, in five New Testament texts, to provide an introductory explanation of Jesus death and resurrection.

  • Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press
  • ISBN: 978-1844744169
  • Pages: 160
  • Price: £7.37
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Book Review

This series of meditations on the cross and resurrection of Christ, from the pen of Don Carson, drives home the absolute centrality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the faith and life of every believer.

Five passages from the New Testament provide the biblical material for these meditations, each focusing on a theme – the ‘ironies’ of the cross (based on the passion narrative in Matthew); the ‘centre’ of the whole Bible (the foundational verses in Romans 3:21-26); the ‘strange triumph of a slaughtered lamb’ (Revelation 12); a ‘miracle full of surprises’ (the raising of Lazarus in John 11); and ‘doubting the resurrection of Jesus’ (from John’s Gospel).

These themes are expounded with clarity, insight and close attention to the biblical text. Carson shows how Matthew’s use of irony underlines for the reader the significance of Jesus’s death on the cross.

He helps us think our way through the tight logic of Paul’s exposition of the central gospel truth of justification by faith alone. He unpacks the vivid symbolism of Revelation to demonstrate how Christ’s atoning death enables Christians to stand against Satan’s defeated wrath.

He shows how John’s use of surprise in the account of the raising of Lazarus reinforces the uniqueness of Christ’s own death and resurrection. And he confronts us with the significance of the doubts – and faith – of Thomas.

Carson the scholar writes here, not for scholars, but for all Christians; and all Christians who take time to read and ponder the contents of this book will benefit immensely. The style is lively and easy to read, the thoughts clear and (on the whole) simple to follow.

But the profound remains profound, as we explore facets of the death and resurrection of Christ and are taken to the very heart of the Christian faith.

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