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The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to "come and see" through profound questions connected with Jesus' death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning as we take a long look beneath the surface and find more of the never-ending treasures of Christ. In Captivated, Thab The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to "come and see" through profound questions connected with Jesus' death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning as we take a long look beneath the surface and find more of the never-ending treasures of Christ. In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile invites you to set aside your early lessons on politeness and stare (yes, do stare) into the mystery of the cross and empty tomb.


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The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to "come and see" through profound questions connected with Jesus' death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning as we take a long look beneath the surface and find more of the never-ending treasures of Christ. In Captivated, Thab The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to "come and see" through profound questions connected with Jesus' death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning as we take a long look beneath the surface and find more of the never-ending treasures of Christ. In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile invites you to set aside your early lessons on politeness and stare (yes, do stare) into the mystery of the cross and empty tomb.

30 review for Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Boling

    The message and life found only in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is indeed a great mystery, one which we must ponder daily. Far too often; however, the full meaning of those events is left as something to visit during the Easter holiday season, with its full impact on our daily lives not fully appreciated. Pastor and author Thabiti Anyabwile, in his short yet very insightful book Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection, provides a call for believers to t The message and life found only in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is indeed a great mystery, one which we must ponder daily. Far too often; however, the full meaning of those events is left as something to visit during the Easter holiday season, with its full impact on our daily lives not fully appreciated. Pastor and author Thabiti Anyabwile, in his short yet very insightful book Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection, provides a call for believers to truly understand and appreciate what Christ did for us on the cross and by his defeat of death. Anyabwile rightly notes “Christians need deeper glimpses into the mystery of God and His salvation. We need times of slow, contemplative consideration of the wonder of Christ’s work for us.” In order to assist the reader in that effort, Anyabwile walks through the Gospel accounts of the passion of Christ to include a look at the Apostle Paul’s discussion of the defeat of death at the cross. The manner in which Anyabwile approaches the text is both scholarly but more importantly he connects the text in such a way as to make it blazingly clear the importance of what Christ did for us and why it reveals how God loves us and how in turn, we are to love Him. For instance, in speaking of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, in particular the anguish Christ felt, we can know from reading that event that we serve a Savior who went through great pain and agony on our behalf even prior to the cross. Christ did not circumvent pain and suffering nor did he take the easy road. Our High Priest, “had to take on our humanity, share in our temptation, and taste our suffering.” We can also appreciate to a much better degree the reality that “In Gethsemane, Jesus faces all God’s wrath against all the evil and sin committed by all His people throughout all time.” Let that sink in for a minute. In following God’s will, Jesus bore the burden of sin on our behalf. As Anyabwile so brilliantly notes, “The Father and Son agree to the crucifixion and resurrection as the ultimate means for each to bring the other the highest possible glory in the universe. Heaven remained silent in response to Jesus’ prayer in order to see this glory manifested.” Often we do not let the gravity of Christ’s death sink into the fiber of our being. What did Christ’s death do for us? Certainly His death paid the penalty for sin as He is the perfect, spotless Lamb of God. What perhaps is overlooked is something Anyabwile addresses in this book, namely that the death of Jesus means the death of death. Anyabwile rightly reminds the reader that “death is a curse”, something laid out on all of creation as a result of sin. The wages of sin is death, death is called our enemy, death involves agony, and furthermore, death has both a spiritual and physical element. Many focus on just the physical or spiritual nature of death respectively, not realizing that both needed to be addressed and addressed they were through the cross and the resurrection of Christ. Anyabwile aptly comments “Spiritual death means to be cut off from God.” The cross was the means by which renewal of relationship was restored between man and his Creator, in part in this life and in full when Christ returns. Additionally, physical death was conquered when Christ was resurrected and it no longer has any sting for the believer and through the cross, believers have been set free from the power of sin and death. The question posed by the angels to the women who came to the grave of Jesus expecting him to still be there, namely that of why do you seek the living among the dead is a very interesting topic to engage. Anyabwile reminds the reader of what that question really means for us. He notes that a life lived in light of Christ’s resurrection will be a changed life, one with a new perspective. Specifically, it will involve “radical sacrifices in faith”, “a life of sacrificial love”, realizing that “knowing Jesus and being with Jesus is the greatest possible future”, and it “moves us from the death of the cross to the life of the resurrection.” Furthermore, just as it did in the lives of the women who came looking for the living among the dead, living life in light of the resurrection will cause the believer to constantly return to the truth of God’s Word. Some seek to find evidential or logical proof of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. While such conversations are indeed interesting and at times useful, Anyabwile reminds the reader that only by having our eyes opened to the truth of what Christ did on the cross and through the resurrection will we truly grasp the enormity of these events. Our epistemological proof of what the cross and the conquering of the grave did for us is revealed to us only by God through His Word. Anyabwile rightly notes “Until God opens our eyes to who He really is in Christ, we remain blind to ultimate truth.” For those whose eyes have been opened, Captivated by Thabiti Anyabwile will indeed provide an impetus for the reader to fall in love again with Christ to bring Him glory. An understanding and appreciation of what was done at the cross on our behalf must result in the adoration and dedication to bring the One glory who did on our behalf what we could never do. Become captivated by the cross as never before by taking heed to the exhortation provided by Anyabwile in this excellent book. I highly recommend this book for seasoned and new believers, scholars and laymen alike. I received this book for free from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    I did not realize that there were 5 questions asked during the time of Jesus' death and resurrection that are questions for us as we consider who Jesus is. Is there no other way? Why have you forsaken me? Where o death, is your victory? Why do you seek the living among the dead? Do you not know these things. Each of these questions are rich and each question is answered fully in a chapter that engage you to thinking more deeply about Jesus. I find it interesting how Jesus asked John Do you love me I did not realize that there were 5 questions asked during the time of Jesus' death and resurrection that are questions for us as we consider who Jesus is. Is there no other way? Why have you forsaken me? Where o death, is your victory? Why do you seek the living among the dead? Do you not know these things. Each of these questions are rich and each question is answered fully in a chapter that engage you to thinking more deeply about Jesus. I find it interesting how Jesus asked John Do you love me three times and Jesus is asking his Father three times - Is there another way? Because it is a spiritual war taking place, a war between a holy God who hates sin and a unholy humanity that hates God and the hosility that is a result of that, the question is there any other way is more for us to know. Do you feel the tension between the world and God..it is for us know that there is no other way for justice to come. Jesus who is without sin, being fully man and God took our place to demonstrate His rigtheousness that He might be just and show mercy on us sinners. The cross shows the wrath of God and His mercy for us which leads us to the next question. Why have you forsaken me? Why did Jesus have to be forsaken by the Father? Was the abandonment of Jesus the greatest of his suffering. What does that mean for me and for you. Another great question, do you actively live with the death of Christ in view or the resurrection in view and what does that look like. The resurrection adds triumph to the tragedy. Life lived in light of the resurrection includes radical sacrifices in faith. That statement is profound to me. That is thinking deeply of the faith we have in our risen Lord. What happens if we are not living in light of the resurrection, we seek the living among the dead. Our lives have purpose in light of the resurrection. And lastly, when we know these things and remember, we see God's providence. I really enjoyed this book and what I learned. There is much to be captivated and be in awe of the death and resurrection of Christ. I appreciate Mr. Anyabwile's insight to that and anyone that reads this book will as well. A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. As James Denney said, The Atonement is a reality of such a sort that it can make no compromise. The man who fights it knows that he is fighting for his life, and puts all his strength into the battle. The surrender is literally to give up himself, to cease to be the man he is, and to become another man …. The cross of Christ is man’s own glory, or it is his final stumbling block

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark Nenadov

    We live busy lives and there are other cultural pressures at play which make it hard to focus on one subject and linger. Thabiti's mission in this book is simple--to get Christians to gaze at Jesus, especially in his death and resurrection. We can often make things so complicated, but sometimes we must reorient our schedule to contemplate the two events which turned the whole world upside down. Yes, it's OK to stare sometimes! I've previously read two of Thabiti's books on ecclesiological matters We live busy lives and there are other cultural pressures at play which make it hard to focus on one subject and linger. Thabiti's mission in this book is simple--to get Christians to gaze at Jesus, especially in his death and resurrection. We can often make things so complicated, but sometimes we must reorient our schedule to contemplate the two events which turned the whole world upside down. Yes, it's OK to stare sometimes! I've previously read two of Thabiti's books on ecclesiological matters and also follow his blog and have attended a conference he spoke at, the Carey Conference here in Ontario. He's a great guy and I had pretty high expectations going into this book. And yet, I wasn't exactly sure what a book by him on this sort of subject would look like. The book is split into five sections, which are question found in the Biblical books of Matthew, I Corinthians, and Luke. They are: Is There No Other Way?, Why Have You Forsaken Me?, Where, O Death, Is Your Victory?, Why Do You Look for the Living among the Dead?, and Do You Know These things? Each of these sections focus in on aspects of the death and resurrection and bring forward their essence powerfully. In each section, Thabiti leads the reader in both some basic exposition and searching application. I really enjoyed reading this book and finished it in a few days. My favorite parts were about the resurrection and its implications. It's a mere 100 pages and the writing is very clear and simple to digest. Overall, it is a very warm, experiential, practical, and winsome book and I highly recommend it. It powerfully brings forward the gospel with many of its implications, and it would be a great read for just about anyone at any time, especially around Easter!

  4. 4 out of 5

    John

    Every year during the weeks leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday I try to read a book about the death and resurrection of Christ to help focus my thoughts and affections. This year I read Thabiti Anyabwile's short book and I'm grateful for it. Each chapter is a modified Easter week sermon that he preached over the years at the First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman. While each chapter encouraged and exhorted me in different ways, I was most thankful and helped by the chapter entitled, Every year during the weeks leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday I try to read a book about the death and resurrection of Christ to help focus my thoughts and affections. This year I read Thabiti Anyabwile's short book and I'm grateful for it. Each chapter is a modified Easter week sermon that he preached over the years at the First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman. While each chapter encouraged and exhorted me in different ways, I was most thankful and helped by the chapter entitled, "Is there No Other Way?" which walks through Jesus's agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Reflecting on what it must have been like for the Son of God to cry out God the Father to take away the cup of suffering He was facing and to here a silent "No" in answer. To His question of "Is there any other way?" the answer was "No. There is no other way for you to be the perfect High Priest. There is the no other way for the depths of my hatred of sin and love for sinners to be display. There is no other way for me to be just and the justifier. There is no other way to show the full extent of my glory. No. There is no other way." This powerful truth was a great encouragement to me as I have been praying the same prayer of "Is there any other way God?" lately about a family situation and have been receiving a similar silent "No". When I don't like or understand what God is sovereignly working in my life, I can know that I have a High Priest who knows what it is like to feel abandoned by God, but yet humbly and obediently trusts in His goodness. All this encouragement came from just one of five chapters, all of which are equally powerful and Gospel centered. Don't wait until next Easter to read this great little book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joseph McBee

    An excellent book that greatly exalts Jesus Christ and is packed with encouragement and passion. Anyabwile writes with the heart of a pastor who loves God, His Word, and His people. There were many times while reading this book that I had to put it down to reflect, pray, or worship.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This compact little book of only 5 chapters was brilliant. I just happened to read it coming up to Easter and boy will I go into that holiday with a deeper, more reverent perspective. Easy to read with a great study guide at the end of each chapter. I like to regularly read books that remind me of the treasure of the cross and resurrection, this book would have to be one of the best I’ve read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pam Larson

    Thank you, Thabiti! I love the way you tied in all four gospel accounts of the resurrection. And thanks for linking to Peter and John's epistles to show how they viewed the resurrection years later. Thank you, Thabiti! I love the way you tied in all four gospel accounts of the resurrection. And thanks for linking to Peter and John's epistles to show how they viewed the resurrection years later.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Johnson

    This is a great book for disciplining new Christians. I would use it for a new believers class.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Wallace

    Short and simple in explaining the purposes of the cross. Explained in a readable way, yet deep in theology.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Let’s just admit that it is the season for Easter devotionals to flood the book market, and with that readers everywhere are faced with the dilemma of whether it is really worth buying a new book on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, or not. Should we stick with one of the many Easter-themed books that are probably gathering dust on our bookshelves (e.g. Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper, which is a great book by the way), or should we be open to Let’s just admit that it is the season for Easter devotionals to flood the book market, and with that readers everywhere are faced with the dilemma of whether it is really worth buying a new book on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, or not. Should we stick with one of the many Easter-themed books that are probably gathering dust on our bookshelves (e.g. Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper, which is a great book by the way), or should we be open to spending more money on a new book focused on the Passion of Christ? Or better yet, is there a newly released book out there worth both your money and time that is so gospel-saturated that it demands to be read? I submit that, Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’s Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile, is just such a book. Thabiti’s humble and insightful navigation of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:42), His cry from the Cross (Matthew 27:42), Paul’s declaration and joy in the powerlessness of death in light of Christ’s victory (1 Cor. 15:50-58), the angels declaration of the resurrection of Christ from the dead (Luke 24:5), and the light rebuke of Cleopas to the resurrected Christ on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:18), serve as wonderful reminders of the awesome and powerful God we serve. Thabiti’s book begins with a clear call to all readers that we need to meditate deeply upon Christ, and not just give Him a passing glance. Most of us are trained at a young age that it is impolite to stare and point at people, and thus we develop almost an aversion to look at people in the eye when they are talking to us because it makes both parties uncomfortable. However, as it pertains to our wonderful Savior, we need to develop a habit of meditating deeply upon Him and His active and passive obedience on behalf of sinners. As Thabiti states in his Introduction to this book, “I believe the Bible implores and commands us to take a long look at Jesus. From Isaiah’s ‘Behold your God!’ (40:9), to the psalmist’s ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ (34:8), to Jesus’s own invitation to ‘take My yoke’ (Matt. 11:29), the Scriptures find diverse ways to beckon the faithful to a luxuriant look at the Son of God.” (pgs. 1-2). The call to prepare our hearts and minds to meditate deeply upon Christ is immediately followed by the question, “Is There No Other Way?” in which readers are confronted with the depths of agony that Christ faced in the Garden of Gethsemane. Thabiti asks readers to dwell on the fact that even though Christ prayed to God the Father and asked this exact question on three separate occasions He was met with an answer of silence, which had never happened up until this point. Here is the Son of God who was perfect in His passive obedience, and was even declared to be a Son in whom the Father was well pleased on two separate occasions, but the only answer from heaven when asked, “Is There No Other Way?”, was silence. And yet, in that silence, both Christ and those of us reading the Gospels are given an answer from the Father. The answer is: “No, this is the only way.” (pg. 8) Oh how great a High Priest we have! Thabiti really brings clarity to this point on Page 9 when he says: “We must not miss the Bible’s crucial teaching at this point. In order for us to have the sympathizing, merciful, and faithful High Priest who knows what our lives are like and who never leaves us nor forsakes us, the Son of God had to be made like us and endure our sorrow. He had to take on our humanity, share in our temptation, and taste our suffering. This is why when Jesus prays, ‘Can you remove this cup?’ and ‘Is there another way?’ the Father answers with a loving, tender, and silent, ‘No-this is the only way for You to become their perfect High Priest.’” Captivated – Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection is a solid, albeit short, read about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I must honestly confess that this is the best Easter-devotional style book that I have read in a very long time. The fact that this book is so short might be a good selling point to some people, but I think most readers will end up agreeing with me upon completion of this book that they wish Thabiti would have kept on writing. I would have gladly “endured” another 100-200 pages of Thabiti’s handling of such a humility-inspiring topic. I received a free copy of this book from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    LaRosa Jr.

    When studying the Bible, it’s always nice to be able to get a fresh perspective on a passage. Yet, there are some passages and events of Scripture that are so familiar to us that it becomes nearly impossible to attain any new insight. One of those events in particular would be the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We hear about it at least once a year, and for many it’s one of the two times they set foot in a church all year (Christmas being the other). While offering fresh insight into fa When studying the Bible, it’s always nice to be able to get a fresh perspective on a passage. Yet, there are some passages and events of Scripture that are so familiar to us that it becomes nearly impossible to attain any new insight. One of those events in particular would be the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We hear about it at least once a year, and for many it’s one of the two times they set foot in a church all year (Christmas being the other). While offering fresh insight into familiar passages is a challenge for some, Thabiti Anyabwile shows in his latest book titled Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection that we can learn something new from verses that we’re prone to gloss over. When I first got this book in my hand my first thought was, “Why should I read another book on the death and resurrection of Christ? What can this book reveal to me that I don’t already know?” After I finished the first chapter (Is There No Other Way?), I was singing a completely different tune. Yes, I’d read many books on this subject, but this is the first that I’ve read written with a pastor’s heart and the desire to see Christ illumined that comes with that. The book starts off with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to the Father in heaven, “Can this cup pass me by? Isn’t there another way?” We all know the Father’s answer, but do we realize that this is the first time that Jesus has probably heard a negative response to his prayers? No?! The Father tells the Son no?! Yes, because there was no other way for sinners to be saved from the penalty of their sins. While Thabiti doesn’t bring anything imperically new to the table, the result was still a blown mind on my part. The rest of the book follows along much of the same path, looking at a different question that is asked in Scripture as it pertains to Christ’s death and resurrection. The second chapter focuses on Jesus asking the Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” The way this question is treated will absolutely grip your soul and help you vividly picture all the ways in which Jesus was forsaken, not just by those he came to save, but by his Father. The level of that separation is literally earth shattering. The next question focuses on the actual death of Jesus, not a subject that we like to think about all that much. Yes, as difficult as it might be for us to comprehend, Jesus did physically die in his earthly body. With that in mind the question “Where, o death, is your victory?” shows us the realities of what was accomplished for us in this literal physical death, which is victory over the grave for believers. But, Jesus didn’t just die, he rose again. Everyone thought Jesus was dead & forgot that he promised to rise again, which led the angel to ask, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Just as Thabiti quotes Shai Linne, so will I: “Jesus is alive!” Out of all the questions, the most powerful chapter is the one that closes the book, “Do you not know these things?” As Jesus walked on the road to Emmaus with two of his disciples, we see a very important truth: unless God opens our eyes and reveals himself to us, we will never truly know who Jesus is. We can have all of the facts and knowledge in the world, but without God choosing to show himself, Jesus will always be out of our reach. Whether it be facts about Jesus or even attending Bible Study, those things alone can never give us the truth about Jesus and the resurrection. That truth only comes directly from God revealing it to us; there is no other way. This is the most important truth in this book and a great reminder for personal evangelism. If I’m honest, I didn’t have high expectations coming into this book. I thought it would be a good read, but I never thought it would impact me spiritually in the way that it did. Heading into this Easter season, Captivated has given me fresh insight into the truths concerning Jesus’ death and resurrection. No longer will I be so quick to look over familiar passages; but, now, I will linger over them and let the Lord reveal the depths of his word. I’m grateful for the work that Jesus did in coming to be our Savior, and I’m not only grateful but now I’m truly captivated.

  12. 4 out of 5

    LuAnn

    I was brought into a church building for the first time when I was three days old. I am now 52 years of age. I am still learning the meaning of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. For these reasons I am excited to have the chance to review "Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection" by Thabiti M. Anyabwile. I was provided a copy of the paperback by Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion of the book. This is a short book, of five Easter-season sermons give I was brought into a church building for the first time when I was three days old. I am now 52 years of age. I am still learning the meaning of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. For these reasons I am excited to have the chance to review "Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection" by Thabiti M. Anyabwile. I was provided a copy of the paperback by Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion of the book. This is a short book, of five Easter-season sermons given by 'Pastor T', compiled in book form, that gives us different facets of Christ's intercession and sacrifice. Is there No Other Way? We have only to look around us to see that worldly influences have distracted so many people, young and old alike. Jesus gave a very human response to his situation when He asked His Father if there was any other way the Father's plan could be accomplished. It is very encouraging for someone like me to know that Jesus knows my weaknesses (because He has experienced them Himself) and that He loves me anyway. Why Have You Forsaken Me? Have your hopes ever been pinned on something that, in the end, does not happen? What a letdown! Of course for most of us, such a feeling of isolation comes at a less serious time than shortly before our deaths. How hard it seems for us as parents to watch our children go down a path that will lead to hurt feeling or injuries, but know that this is something they must experience in order to progress. How hard it is for us, as children, to not receive the help we expect from our parents. What an incredible sacrifice made by God the Father and Jesus for our benefit. Where, O Death, is Your Victory? Because Jesus and His Father made this incredible sacrifice and unbelievable gift to everyone, we are able to go to heaven after our physical bodies have died. But, being human, most of what we see is the 'separation' from our loved ones and we tend to view death as what it takes away. In March, 2011, I travelled from Kentucky to Utah to visit my 87 year old mother. Given the infrequency with which I was able to visit, it was clear that this would be the last time I would see her on this earth. when I left her room for the last time, she was in and out of consciousness. I bent down to whisper in her ear, "Mom, I love you. God loves you." Although, I know of no one who has expressed this theme more eloquently than Chad Watson, a man in my state who expressed his reliance on and gratefulness for God's plan ... after his wife and 8 of his 9 children died in a fire earlier this year. Why do You Seek the Living Among the Dead? If this life was all there was, death would indeed be even more of a tragedy than it already is. The only thing that could be worse would be spending eternity outside of God's presence. We are not our physical characteristics: our eye and hair color, height and weight. We are not our physical conditions: good health, illnesses or injuries. Those can grow old and pass away. Our spirits, or who we are, need not be found in the same place as our muscles and tendons. We may seek for the living among the dead, like the women looking for Jesus' tomb that Sunday morning, but we will not find them there. Do You Not Know These Things? This chapter was different for me. To use a cooking analogy, if the first four chapter-sermons were the ingredients, the fifth chapter contains the directions. I was glad to have someone finally define the word epistemology, which I had seen many times before in Christian literature, but it was always assumed the reader would know what it meant. How do you know what is true, what is right? There are many ways to gain proof. There is only one way that is infallible. ~~~oOo~~~ Pastor T obviously knows his Bible and can find and use the words to help people find their way in their walk with God. This is not a book you can read once and put up on the shelf to gather dust. Personally I would like to have a week or two to study each chapter, to go through and learn (memorize?) the Bible verse references, and to pray about it. Whether you are non-Christian, newly baptized or a scriptorian, this book as something for you.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Have you ever experienced the excitement of something familiar becoming new again when witnessing it through the eyes of a child? I remember discovering an ant hill and the fascination of watching it for hours. It was better than TV. I remember lying on my back in the grass on warm sunny days watching the fluffy cloud figures float by. In my imagination, they were characters and the scenarios I created in my head kept me enthralled. I was transfixed watching fish swimming around in their clear g Have you ever experienced the excitement of something familiar becoming new again when witnessing it through the eyes of a child? I remember discovering an ant hill and the fascination of watching it for hours. It was better than TV. I remember lying on my back in the grass on warm sunny days watching the fluffy cloud figures float by. In my imagination, they were characters and the scenarios I created in my head kept me enthralled. I was transfixed watching fish swimming around in their clear glass environments in the pet stores. The big ditches near the farms I lived close to were teaming with life that kept me mesmerized in my pre-teen years. And I remember the first time I stared into a stereoscope and discovered an entire world of tiny microscopic creatures. It was captivating. The more I searched these miniature worlds, the more I saw. The excitement of discovery was unparalleled. Enthralled, transfixed, fascinated, mesmerized, captivated...Do you associate these terms with Easter: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday? Or is it all about the bunny? Pastor and author Thabiti Anyabwile invites us to take a long hard look at the events and mysteries surrounding Jesus' death and resurrection. If we look intently enough we may uncover what has fascinated so many other followers for millennia. "Perhaps the Scriptures most forcefully beckon us to 'come and see' when various writers ask profound questions in connection with Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Those questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning. The Scriptures question us so that we might look beneath the surface to find more of the never ending treasures of Christ." There are only five chapters in this densely packed, 95-page book. Each chapter was originally part of a series of sermons examining questions posed by participants in the passionate events of Jesus' final days on earth and His resurrection. What do these questions reveal? In the first question, "Is There No Other Way?" the author brought to light two astounding factors I had never fully thought through: The Cosmic Contradiction and the Silent No. In the second question, "Why Have You Forsaken Me?" our attention is drawn to the emotional trauma of desertion and abandonment. Torture on the cross was not only physical, but emotional. The third question is a quote from the apostle Paul as he pondered Jesus' death; "Where, O Death, is Your Victory?" The author reminds us of something we consistently forget: the death of Death. The fourth question was actually posed by an angel, "Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead?" Angels are messengers who bring us announcements from God. Why did this angel ask a question instead? The fifth question, "Do You Not Know These Things?" is a bit of irony. Jesus joined a couple of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, but they didn't recognize Him! So the author asks us, how do we know Jesus? Like the parents who experienced the excitement of something familiar becoming new again when witnessing it through the eyes of a child, I felt thrilled and, yes, captivated by the fresh perspectives shared in this book. I enthusiastically give it a thumbs up for anyone who wants to experience Easter new again. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC)on behalf of Reformation Heritage Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    B

    In Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection, Pastor Thabiti M. Anyabwile attempts "to stare at Jesus and be captivated by Him." This book represents a series of sermons preached at the First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman and has a stated purpose: "As we are transfixed, may we find that He [Jesus] has been looking upon us all along. May we behold His face and be satisfied as we're changed from one degree of glory to another in Him." I appreciate the sincerity of Pastor A In Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection, Pastor Thabiti M. Anyabwile attempts "to stare at Jesus and be captivated by Him." This book represents a series of sermons preached at the First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman and has a stated purpose: "As we are transfixed, may we find that He [Jesus] has been looking upon us all along. May we behold His face and be satisfied as we're changed from one degree of glory to another in Him." I appreciate the sincerity of Pastor Anyabwile's love and reverence for Christ and the work He accomplished for us on the cross. His humbleness as a pastor is seen in how he rightly handles Scripture and gently guides the reader to behold the loving sacrifice of God's own Son. The author's writing style is smooth and enjoyable to read. This book is very short and devotional in nature with questions 'For Further Gazing and Reflection' at the end of each chapter. These questions are not deeply introspective or thought-provoking for private study, but they would be useful for a small group study or family devotional with new believers or young children. First off in Chapter 1, Christians are compelled to contemplate the fact that Jesus must drink the cup of God's wrath--and He did. We are asked to rejoice in the reality that God loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Then we are faced with the following questions: "Do you feel ashamed that your sin put the Son of God face down in the dirt, pleading for another way? Do you feel ashamed that your sin is so vile and wretched that there was no other way?" In light of these rhetorical questions, we can plainly see that man owes God complete submission to His will. Next in Chapter 2, Christians are confronted with God the Father's abandonment of Jesus on the cross which ultimately leads to our adoption. I felt the weight of my sin as Pastor Anyabwile described the humiliation & mocking that Jesus endured on the cross. However, my heaviness was not from a sense of condemnation, but from a deep sense of gratefulness as I contemplated the great exchange of my sin for His righteousness. In Chapter 3, we see the death of death in the death of Christ (the title of John Owen's treatise on the subject). Pastor Anyabwile reminds us that man was not made to die, but to live with God in obedience and love forever. For the most part, this book is written to Christians; however, the author does give a clear, concise, and powerful Gospel presentation for the unbelieving, or nominal Christian, reader, (Kindle location 692). In Chapter 4, we look at the question asked by the angels in the tomb: "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" The pastor further asks: "Do you actively live as though God raised the dead?" I was stirred by this question to reflect on how I live in light of the resurrection in terms of sacrifice, love, and hope. Finally in Chapter 5, we are confronted with the truth that knowing facts about Jesus' life or the Bible in general are insufficient for recognizing who Jesus really is. "Knowing Jesus requires that God supernaturally open our eyes with spiritual sight...In fact, we are unable to know the truth about Jesus in a saving way unless God reveals the Son to us." In a way, the ending seemed anti-climatic, but then again, when you are beholding the Son of God and the work He did on the cross, what does an appropriate ending look like? Overall, I really enjoyed this devotional book and highly recommend it for all Christians. Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Jackson

    When I was given the opportunity to receive a copy of Thabiti Anyabwile's new book, Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection, I eagerly jumped on it. Anyabwile has been a vocal supporter of 20schemes, of which we're a part. I'd heard For me, this quote from Chapter 1 sums up the premise of the book: "The truth of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection is a daily reality for those who believe in Him. Yet from time to time, that daily reality requires extended contemplation a When I was given the opportunity to receive a copy of Thabiti Anyabwile's new book, Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection, I eagerly jumped on it. Anyabwile has been a vocal supporter of 20schemes, of which we're a part. I'd heard For me, this quote from Chapter 1 sums up the premise of the book: "The truth of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection is a daily reality for those who believe in Him. Yet from time to time, that daily reality requires extended contemplation and reflection, and we should ponder its meaning so that it does not become daily neglected." (emphasis mine) This is a short book, only ninety-five pages over five chapters, but it's packed. Each chapter is followed by a list of helpful questions "for further gazing and reflection." Here's how it breaks down: Chapter 1: Is There No Other Way? Anyabwile places the reader right in the Garden of Gethsemane, giving a real sense of the sorrow and suffering that Jesus experienced, including the failure of friends and difficult answer to his prayer in Matthew 26:42. He then asks -- and answers -- "Why is this the only way?" ("This" being the cross.) This is important not only for the gospel, but for our understanding of the very character of the Father as we, too, experience sorrow and suffering. Chapter 2: Why Have You Forsaken Me? While much could be said about this chapter, I think this quote sums up the answer to the question: "The Father's abandonment of Jesus leads to the sinner's adoption. God abandons one perfect Son in order to adopt millions of sinful sons. It is the only abandonment with any honor and redemption." This abandonment is explored further as Anyabwile shares more deeply about the nature of the Father's abandonment of the Son through the rest of the chapter. Chapter 3: Where, O Death, Is Your Victory? Anyabwile explains from Scripture exactly what death is and how Jesus' death "means victory over death for those who believe." The gospel is shared in the last few pages of this chapter, making this a good book to share with both believers and unbelievers. Chapter 4: Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead? This was the question that the angels asked the women who had come to the tomb to prepare the corpse of their beloved Jesus for burial. Anyabwile shares how this simple question is a sanctifying redirection, both for the women and for us. Chapter 5: Do You Not Know These Things? It's important how you know what you know, as many means are insufficient ways of knowing the truth about Jesus and the resurrection. Physical senses, facts, and Bible study are all insufficient means without our eyes being opened by God himself. My favorite takeaway quote from this section: "Sitting in a church for twenty years does not make you a Christian any more than putting rocks in an oven makes them biscuits." If you've been a Christian for a long time, this book will encourage you to think about the meaning of Jesus' death and resurrection in a fresh way. If you're a new believer, it's my hope that this book will help you learn more about what this death and resurrection means for you today. And if you're one who wonders what all the fuss is about this man called Jesus, please read this book and pray for God to open your eyes. And let me know; I'll pray for that, as well. {Cross Focused Reviews provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review; however, the views stated here are my own. This review has also been posted on Amazon.com and princapecos.blogspot.com.}

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bob Hayton

    In the weeks before Easter, I usually try to find a good devotional book to contemplate afresh the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection. A new book from Thabiti Anyabwile is just what I was looking for this year. "Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection" (Reformation Heritage, 2014) takes the reader on a look at the last few days of Christ’s passion. Anyabwile follows five different questions asked in Scripture’s teaching concerning Christ’s death and resurr In the weeks before Easter, I usually try to find a good devotional book to contemplate afresh the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection. A new book from Thabiti Anyabwile is just what I was looking for this year. "Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection" (Reformation Heritage, 2014) takes the reader on a look at the last few days of Christ’s passion. Anyabwile follows five different questions asked in Scripture’s teaching concerning Christ’s death and resurrection, and uses these questions as food for thought and contemplation. •Is There No Other Way? •Why Have You Forsaken Me? •Where, O Death, Is Your Victory? •Why Do You Seek the Living among the Dead? •Do You Not Know These Things? This book was born from a series of sermons, that its author preached. Anyabwile is an engaging speaker and his writing was just as warm and personal as his speaking. He displays a pastor’s heart as he applies lessons from Christ’s suffering to the problem and pain that so many of us face. He is a bold evangelist in this book too, calling the reader to repent and believe the gospel. Often Anyabwile quotes from Scripture and occasionally he draws on the lyrics from age-old hymns or even, a new Christian rap song. His analogies and illustrations always help drive the point of the chapter home. Much of the material falls in the “helpful reminder” category. Christians know this, and have learned this — but do we live it? Some of Anyabwile’s insights are refreshingly new and quite helpful. I particularly enjoyed how he showed that in most of the post-Resurrection appearances, merely seeing the physical Jesus was not enough. The minds and eyes of the disciples had to be opened, again and again, in order for them to comprehend that this indeed was Jesus. His conclusion from this is worth repeating here: "In order to recognize and accept Jesus for who He is, we must be born again. The Spirit of God must give us a new heart and new eyes of faith so that we can understand the things of God and the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. The Father must open our eyes so we can see Jesus. Until God opens our eyes to who He really is in Christ, we remain blind to ultimate truth. "Has God opened your eyes yet? Do you see with the sight that He alone can give? How would you know that you see and recognize Jesus for who He is?" (p. 87) I included the second paragraph in the except above to illustrate why this book may not be for you. His direct appeals might unnerve some of us. Or they may prod us to where we need to be! Perhaps this Easter is a good time for you to explore anew the suffering and death, and the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. The questions for reflection after each of the five small chapters in this little book, will aid in personal examination or group study. The brevity of the book will prevent even the weakest of readers from the excuse that they don’t have time for this book. It is less than 100 pages, but well worth your time. May God use it to rekindle a love for Christ and the Bible in all of us! Disclaimer: This book was provided by Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Roberts

    Okay, first off I need to make a confession. I struggled with this book. Not because of the book but because of me. I know it sounds like the usual “It’s not you, it’s me” type of break-up. But let me explain. As I began this book I was a little bored (I know I am not making it better, but stay with me). This book, that is a collection of sermons, did not have what I was used to in Christian Life books. There were no catchy stories, there were no quotes from famous reformed thinkers, there were Okay, first off I need to make a confession. I struggled with this book. Not because of the book but because of me. I know it sounds like the usual “It’s not you, it’s me” type of break-up. But let me explain. As I began this book I was a little bored (I know I am not making it better, but stay with me). This book, that is a collection of sermons, did not have what I was used to in Christian Life books. There were no catchy stories, there were no quotes from famous reformed thinkers, there were no pop culture references, there was nothing but Bible quotes and Bible stories. How bland, how boring! How was I supposed to be inspired and know how to apply these verses without the stories and inspiration? About half way through the second chapter I realized that the problem with me was not the book but me. I was so used to reading books filled with stories, anecdotes and famous quotes that I didn’t realize what I was missing, God’s Word. In fact Thabiti Anyabwile’s little book is so saturated with God’s Word that there is no room for those catchy stories and famous quotes. There is nothing wrong with books like the ones I have loved, but truly I was missing out because I was being entertained with ideas and thoughts from others about God’s Word instead of interacting with God’s Word like I should be. Now this does not mean that this book is simply Bible verses and that’s it. There is a paragraph or two per chapter that help to set-up the Bible studies and these are not wasted at all. Thabiti understands that the only thing that matters is God’s Word and he focuses on it entirely throughout this short little book. In the introduction Thabiti promises that he intends for us to look, to even stare, more intently into these stories we have read hundreds of times and see them for what they are. And I can humbly say that this totally happened for me. I have been educated in Christian education for most of my life, I teach Bible to high school students both at my church and small private Christian school, and I was mesmerized by this book’s examining of these stories that I know by heart. The five chapters in this book walk through key moments from the time Jesus is brought before Pilate through the resurrection Sunday morning. I enjoyed chapters two and five the best. Chapter two is entitled “Why Have You Forsaken Me?” this is about Jesus’ relationship with the Father. But by far the best chapter is chapter of five entitled “Do You Not Know These Things?” where Thabiti lays out how we know what we know. This was such a great chapter, as he explains the flaws in where we get our knowledge and how there is only one true source. This must have been one amazing sermon, because the chapter was outstanding. I will definitely be coming back to this chapter when I lead studies on what happens Easter Sunday, I loved it. I am so thankful for the Thabiti Anyabwile’s focus on God’s Word and drawing me back to the stories that I have read hundreds of times and helping me to see them afresh. This book receives five stars from me and I cannot recommend it enough. Go buy this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hope

    Lent begins this week, and I definitely want to be more spiritually prepared for celebrating Christ’s resurrection than I have in years past. Thankfully, in God’s sovereign timing, I received Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti Anyabwile in perfect timing to turn my eyes crossward. Thabiti’s goal in Captivated is to help us learn how to stare. Normally it’s rude to fix our eyes on something, but to take long looks at the cross is the most worthy opportuni Lent begins this week, and I definitely want to be more spiritually prepared for celebrating Christ’s resurrection than I have in years past. Thankfully, in God’s sovereign timing, I received Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti Anyabwile in perfect timing to turn my eyes crossward. Thabiti’s goal in Captivated is to help us learn how to stare. Normally it’s rude to fix our eyes on something, but to take long looks at the cross is the most worthy opportunity to gaze. In all my attempts to be cross-focused and go to a gospel-centered church and have a gospel-displaying marriage and a Christ-centered family, I have done poorly at slowing down and really thinking about what happened in Christ’s death and resurrection. It served my soul greatly to read Captivated as Thabiti explained the scriptures to me more deeply. I kind of expected that a book about the cross would just quote a bunch of pastors and theologians, rephrasing rephrases and simply finding new ways to tell me things I already knew. But, refreshingly, for this book Thabiti rarely dipped into man’s words and primarily used scripture to help me behold Christ. He used verses from all over the Bible---verses I had never even noticed---to give me a deeper glimpse into what happened in those three days after which sinners could become justified once and for all. In my favorite chapter, “Why Have You Forsaken Me?”, Psalm 22 and other supporting scriptures pounded into my heart the mysterious forsakenness Jesus felt at the cross for my sin. As Thabiti says on pg 25, “The Father’s abandonment of Jesus leads to the sinner’s adoption. God abandons one perfect Son in order to adopt millions of sinful sons. It is the only abandonment with any honor and redemption.” As I continued to read of the agonizing abandonment Christ experienced on multiple levels---and ultimately abandonment by the Father Himself---not only was I gripped by His mercy but I was comforted by what He accomplished. I should never feel forsaken by God because Jesus already drank every drop of forsakenness for me. This book was incredible. Concisely and beautifully written, Captivated truly helped me get my eyes off myself and instead gaze at the cross and the empty tomb. Though the topic of Christ’s death and resurrection can never be exhausted (hence the beauty of its mystery!), Thabiti did an excellent job of humbly expositing scripture to aid readers in better understanding---and appreciating---what was done there. The questions for reflection at the end of each chapter helped drive these truths home even more. As I believe was Thabiti’s intention, Captivated successfully brings its readers to their knees in worship and repentance. Gazing at the glorious Christ tends to have that effect on people, and I’m grateful that this resource helped me do just that. Disclosure: I received a copy from Reformation Heritage Books through Cross-Focused Reviews for free in order to give an unbiased review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dave Buller

    This review originally appeared at: http://christianfirst.us/2014/02/28/book-review-captivated/ Each year during the season of Lent, Christians the world over are reflecting on and reading about Jesus' journey to the cross. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has generally had more profound impact on the lives of people than any other single event. "Captivated" by Thabiti Anyabwile is a good resource to aid any interested in understanding more about Jesus. The book is a series of sermons ba This review originally appeared at: http://christianfirst.us/2014/02/28/book-review-captivated/ Each year during the season of Lent, Christians the world over are reflecting on and reading about Jesus' journey to the cross. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has generally had more profound impact on the lives of people than any other single event. "Captivated" by Thabiti Anyabwile is a good resource to aid any interested in understanding more about Jesus. The book is a series of sermons based on 5 questions: 1) Is there no other way? (A reflection on Jesus' struggle with his will in the Garden of Gethsemane) 2) Why have you forsaken me? 3) Where, o death, is your victory? 4) Why do you seek the living among the dead? 5) Do you not know these things? A thorough study of Bible verses surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus provides the reader with insights. In addition to the questions above (which serve as chapter titles), Thabiti answers questions such as: Why did Jesus have to die? and How can we be saved? If you desire to understand more about the Christian faith, this book would serve as a good primer in making sense of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This book is also a good resource for pastors looking for sermon ideas during the season of Lent and leading up to Easter. One concern that I have after reading Captivated is that application has been limited to the realm of mental assent (or believing). In other words, Thabiti helps us to see why Jesus is important and what to believe. But what about practical application as we think about Jesus servitude and suffering and obedience as examples for us? What should followers of Jesus do (rather than just believe) after reading and meditating on Jesus' story? These questions also deserve our attention and beckon us to action. Captivated is not a "how to" guide directing believers how to faithfully live if they desire to follow Jesus. Instead, it is a "how to believe" guide. Each chapter/sermon ends with an altar call encouraging the readers/listeners to believe. Overall, Captivated is an encouraging and insightful analysis of Jesus' journey and what Christ accomplished for those who believe on His name. About the author: Thabiti M. Anyabwile is senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Pastor Anyabwile and his wife, Kristie, have three children. Below is a video trailer of the author introducing the book. I received "Captivated" in exchange for a review. I was not required to give a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I love the title of this book! It is so appropriate because when you read it, your heart cannot help but be captivated by Jesus. It’s undeniable, you cannot resist His love and all He has done for you. I truly fell in love all over again with my Savior. I realized in reading this book that I was guilty. I had stopped being captivated and contemplating the wonders of the works of the cross, His death and His resurrection for us, for me. In one sense I knew this information theologically and come t I love the title of this book! It is so appropriate because when you read it, your heart cannot help but be captivated by Jesus. It’s undeniable, you cannot resist His love and all He has done for you. I truly fell in love all over again with my Savior. I realized in reading this book that I was guilty. I had stopped being captivated and contemplating the wonders of the works of the cross, His death and His resurrection for us, for me. In one sense I knew this information theologically and come to grips with many of the passages Anyabwile explains. Yet because of how he describes and brings forth the Word of God in a way that moved me so deeply, I saw theses passages in a whole new way. My love for God and my Redeemer Jesus Christ has grown considerably because of this new perspective. Because Anyabwile has a way in bringing the Scriptures alive, this makes it harder to resist seeing all the love our Savior has for us. Thus loving and glorifying Him even more in return! Also understanding how Jesus truly did suffer painful agony out of love for his Father to save us undeniably makes Him our perfect companion in our own suffering. Therefore we can lean on Jesus Christ for true comfort when we ourselves are suffering. What a biblical truth to come to grips with in your soul and mind. For me it was mind boggling, relevant to my own spiritual growth and in essence a turning point in my own faith with God to actually truly understand this theologically deep truth in my life as one who suffers pain daily. « We must remember and treasure that Jesus willingly suffered all this so sinners can escape it. Jesus’ abandonment means the sinner’s adoption. He took our place on the cross so we can take His place in the kingdom. » I cherish this quote. I mean really, I need to read this over and over again to fully comprehend it’s meaning in my life! This is a short book, yet one of the best and most helpful books I have read to lead me back to the essentials in my Christian’s life. Read the book and be captivated by Jesus’ love for you! You’ll be blessed and fall in love all over again. Extract from: Thabiti M. Anyabwile. « Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection. » Reformation Heritage Books, 2014-01-28. iBooks. Page 59 *I have received a free copy of Captivated by Reformation Heritage Books. However I am under no obligation to write a positive review. These are entirely my own personal opinions and thoughts expressed according to my own discernment. Ann L Beaulieu

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Johnson

    As the title suggests, Captivated gazes hard into the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s the kind of gaze that strips away any superfluous distractions and looks straight into the truths of His surrender, the agony of His abandonment, the glory of His victory, and the joy of His resurrection. Captivated isn’t a just simple story that you can read and forget, or a set of pretty platitudes that lack any real power. Rather, it considers the following difficult aspects of Christ’s death As the title suggests, Captivated gazes hard into the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s the kind of gaze that strips away any superfluous distractions and looks straight into the truths of His surrender, the agony of His abandonment, the glory of His victory, and the joy of His resurrection. Captivated isn’t a just simple story that you can read and forget, or a set of pretty platitudes that lack any real power. Rather, it considers the following difficult aspects of Christ’s death and resurrection: 1. Is There No Other Way? (Matthew 26:42) Christ’s famous prayer of surrender in the Garden of Gethsemane asks whether there was any other way for the Father’s plan of redemption to be manifested. 2. Why Have You Forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46) Christ’s cry of anguish as He faced the fullness of God’s wrath alone on the cross, expresses the utter abandonment He experienced for the first (and only) time in all of eternity. 3. Where, O Death, Is Your Victory? (1 Corinthians 15:50-58) Christ’s victorious triumph over death stripped sin of its greatest weapon, and removed death’s sting for all who believe on Him. 4. Why Do You Seek the Living Among the Dead? (Luke 24:5) Christ’s glorious resurrection redirects our focus from grief to joy, from circumstances to divine providence, and from law to gospel, as we learn to live in light of its truth. 5. Do You Not Know These Things? (Luke 24:18) Christ’s discussion with two men on the road to Emmaus reveals that senses, emotions, and experiences can lie — and we can only know God’s truth as He opens our eyes to see. Captivated is a short book, only 95 pages. In fact, its text was originally presented as a series of five Easter sermons by Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile. But it also works well as an in-depth meditation on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Each chapter ends with a handful of questions “for further gazing and reflection.” They connect key points from the preceding chapter with cross-references throughout Scripture, ask “why” questions, and add clarification to the reader’s understanding of the gospel. I would definitely recommend this book — in fact, I would suggest reading Captivated as part of a dedicated time of personal worship, during the days immediately preceding Easter, to help you become more deeply captivated by Christ Himself. This review was published simultaneously on my blog and other sites.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Doug Hibbard

    Captivated by Thabiti M. Anyabwile is everything you would expect in a book based on a short series of sermons from a committed Christian pastor. It minimizes distractions, chases no rabbits, and pulls no punches. This makes Captivated a great little book to hand out within the church to think more deeply about the Crucifixion and Resurrection. First, it minimizes distractions. You have a 94-page paperback. There is no space to waste on possible locations of Golgotha or ratcheting through the chr Captivated by Thabiti M. Anyabwile is everything you would expect in a book based on a short series of sermons from a committed Christian pastor. It minimizes distractions, chases no rabbits, and pulls no punches. This makes Captivated a great little book to hand out within the church to think more deeply about the Crucifixion and Resurrection. First, it minimizes distractions. You have a 94-page paperback. There is no space to waste on possible locations of Golgotha or ratcheting through the chronological options for the year of the Passion of the Christ. In fact, with a book this size, there is no space to spend on political posturing or self-aggrandizement. Captivated goes right to the heart of the matter. Second, Anyabwile chases no rabbits in Captivated. While the body of work overall from Anyabwile shows he loves the whole Bible, his time here is focused on the events of the Passion of Jesus. He is not derailed into why the atonement means we can now eat bacon or any other sub-points. Throughout the pages, Captivated is locked on the salvation and new life purchased by Jesus for His people. Even the discussion questions that follow each chapter are on point, no warbling off into the woods in search of obscure points. Third, Captivated pulls no punches. There is no softening of the point here: Jesus died because we are sinners. True, Jesus died, rose, and reigns for His own glory—but the punishment, the difficulty, it was all due to our sinfulness. It was done because of the fallen humanity that needed a Saviour. And it falls to us to repent and follow, not merely to talk and discuss. All in all, I like this book. Captivated is not expensive, so if you are on a limited church budget or just want a copy for yourself, it is within reach. There are digital forms available, so you grab that as well. I think it would help you, or a whole local body, understand why Easter matters so much. Of course, it is not seasonally limited, but it’s worth doing sooner rather than later. (I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for the review.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Roger Leonhardt

    This is the first book I have read by Anyabwile and it will not be the last. In this short book, Anyabwile teaches us to stare. Remember when you parents told you it was rude to stare at someone? Here, Thabiti gives us permission to stare at what God has accomplished for us in the death and resurrection of Christ. When we contemplate what He has done we become captivated. We see the world in a different light. Life has so much more meaning. The book is written in an easy to read format. Anyabwile t This is the first book I have read by Anyabwile and it will not be the last. In this short book, Anyabwile teaches us to stare. Remember when you parents told you it was rude to stare at someone? Here, Thabiti gives us permission to stare at what God has accomplished for us in the death and resurrection of Christ. When we contemplate what He has done we become captivated. We see the world in a different light. Life has so much more meaning. The book is written in an easy to read format. Anyabwile takes theology and explains it in a way that even the young in Christ can understand. With this in mind we can understand that the Gospel is so profound that people can spend a lifetime and never plumb it's depths. On the other hand, when Christ enlightens someone’s heart, even simplest person can see and experience it. In 5 short chapters he takes us through the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. Here is a list of chapters with a short summary. 1. Is There No Other Way? (Christ had to die in our stead. We could not save ourselves.) 2. Why Have You Forsaken Me? (What was it like for Christ to be forsaken by the Father?) 3. Where, O Death, Is Your Victory? (How did Christ defeat death?) 4. Why Do You Seek the Living among the Dead? (all other religious leader are dead except one!) 5. Do You Not Know These Things? (We need to know Christ in the power of His resurrection) This work would make a great devotional. If you take one chapter a week and meditate on it, I believe it can be extremely beneficial in your walk with Christ. It is also a good read for those who do not know the Lord. To see what Jesus accomplished may lead the sinner to Christ. I recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I received this book, free of charge, from Reformation Heritage Books and Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mazzou B

    Author Thabiti Anyabwile encourages readers to take a long look at Jesus and his suffering for our sins. Something which has been impressed on our hearts recently is that we are so used to reading the account of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. We pass over the verses about the crucifixion with a little sadness and sometimes tears. But how often do the tears really flow? I'm not judging anyone, I'm speaking from personal experience and encouraging each of you to think about this as well. Thi Author Thabiti Anyabwile encourages readers to take a long look at Jesus and his suffering for our sins. Something which has been impressed on our hearts recently is that we are so used to reading the account of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. We pass over the verses about the crucifixion with a little sadness and sometimes tears. But how often do the tears really flow? I'm not judging anyone, I'm speaking from personal experience and encouraging each of you to think about this as well. This five chapter-long book is a compilation of the author's sermons on the subject. It is very personal and easy to grasp, as well as being easy to take in chapter by chapter. As I have found with several of Reformation Heritage's books, the content of each chapter is an easy length to take in at a time, and the questions at the close of each make further contemplation easier. Product Description The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to “come and see” through profound questions connected with Jesus’ death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning as we take a long look beneath the surface and find more of the never-ending treasures of Christ. In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile invites you to set aside your early lessons on politeness and stare (yes, do stare) into the mystery of the cross and empty tomb. Table of Contents: Introduction 1. Is There No Other Way? (Matthew 26:42) 2. Why Have You Forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:45-46) 3. Where, O Death, Is Your Victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55) 4. Why Do You Look for the Living among the Dead? (Luke 24:5) 5. Do You Know These Things? (Luke 24:17)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Cain

    In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile challenges us, as Christians, to set aside our reservations about staring, and to stare boldly at Christ, meditating on the importance of the cross and the tomb. We live in a day where we are too busy to just gaze at Christ, taking in all that He suffered and bore for our Salvation. We are forgetful and preoccupied, that is human nature. We are like Martha, scurrying around frantically, not achieving much, because we are worried we aren’t doing enough– but we take In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile challenges us, as Christians, to set aside our reservations about staring, and to stare boldly at Christ, meditating on the importance of the cross and the tomb. We live in a day where we are too busy to just gaze at Christ, taking in all that He suffered and bore for our Salvation. We are forgetful and preoccupied, that is human nature. We are like Martha, scurrying around frantically, not achieving much, because we are worried we aren’t doing enough– but we take pride in the thought that at least we are doing more than Mary! What an important reminder Jesus gave in Luke 10:38-42, “but one thing is necessary”, to bring Glory to our Savior. Captivated is like a slap to the face, a bold reminder. Anyabwile explains in powerful terms what Christ suffered to redeem His Bride. Christ suffered utter separation: separation from His people, but even more devastating, separation from the Father. Simply imagining the desperation that must have come with being utterly separated from God makes me shudder. But Christ willingly bore it for me, for you. Captivated is encouraging, meditative, and humbling. It is a beautiful reminder of just how great the Father’s Love for us truly is. I thoroughly enjoyed Captivated, and would give the book a “B+”. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Cross Focused Reviews bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary-ann

    Synopsis: Captivated: Beholding The Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection Book Cover The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to “come and see” through profound questions connected with Jesus’ death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning as we take a long look beneath the surface and find more of the never-ending treasures of Christ. In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile invites you to set aside Synopsis: Captivated: Beholding The Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection Book Cover The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to “come and see” through profound questions connected with Jesus’ death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning as we take a long look beneath the surface and find more of the never-ending treasures of Christ. In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile invites you to set aside your early lessons on politeness and stare (yes, do stare) into the mystery of the cross and empty tomb. Captivated begins with us asking God why...when what we must focus on what Christ did for us, imagine the hurt that He felt when He took our sins on that cross. This is an amazing book, that will help you think deeper about what Christ did for us, and what it means and how important it was. With this small book, the content is easy to read, and there are questions at the end of every chapter. Very appropriate for the season we are entering! I received this book free from www.crossfocusedreviews.com . I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mathew

    Buy Captivated here. Captivated is a book of collected sermons on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One that succeeds in being unified, engaging, and paced as a book. Thabiti starts by pleading with us to stop and gaze at Jesus, to slow down and stare. Let truths that are familiar captivate us once more. The size and pace of the book compliment this urging. You can soak the truths in as you read. The page count won’t drowned you. But Captivated also moves along at a steady pace. This bal Buy Captivated here. Captivated is a book of collected sermons on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One that succeeds in being unified, engaging, and paced as a book. Thabiti starts by pleading with us to stop and gaze at Jesus, to slow down and stare. Let truths that are familiar captivate us once more. The size and pace of the book compliment this urging. You can soak the truths in as you read. The page count won’t drowned you. But Captivated also moves along at a steady pace. This balance provides a sense of gravity and freshness to the historical truths of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Read the entire review here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark A Powell

    In this series of sermons, Anyabwile surveys the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and their meaning according to Scripture. Although the scope of this book is clearly not comprehensive, a bit more explication would have been beneficial. What Anyabwile says accords with biblical testimony but its succinctness leaves the distinct impression that perhaps more needed to be said. As an Easter primer it is quite useful, but it may do little more than whet the appetite.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    A very quick read that resulted in a lot of reflection. I wouldn't say there was anything ground-breaking, but it's still a powerful read leading up to the Easter season. For what it's worth, the last chapter hit on the elect pretty hard. I'm not completely Reformed in my theology, so I might voice some caution to folks who aren't familiar with it. It was a very good read. A very quick read that resulted in a lot of reflection. I wouldn't say there was anything ground-breaking, but it's still a powerful read leading up to the Easter season. For what it's worth, the last chapter hit on the elect pretty hard. I'm not completely Reformed in my theology, so I might voice some caution to folks who aren't familiar with it. It was a very good read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andy Littleton

    Great quick read on the most important days of Jesus' life...arguably in the world. Adapted from a sermon series by Anyabwile, it is accessible to all. I'd highly recommend it as devotional reading around Easter. Great quick read on the most important days of Jesus' life...arguably in the world. Adapted from a sermon series by Anyabwile, it is accessible to all. I'd highly recommend it as devotional reading around Easter.

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