“A no from God does more for our good than a yes to all our dreams.” ~ Pastor Anyabwile
Have you heard the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection? Have you, perhaps, become indifferent or even desensitized to the actual events surrounding that historical event?
In Captivated, Pastor Anyabwile encourages us through a series of sermons he preached during Easter to consider the profound truths of those moments with fresh insight.
“In verse 38, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death’…The Lord tells us He could die from the overwhelming sorrow He feels.” ~ Pastor Anyabwile
We are reminded that we have a Savior who can intimately relate to our weaknesses and grief yet remained holy as Chapter 1 expounds on Christ’s anguish at Gethsemane, ultimately revealing why Christ is the only way and the necessity of the Cross.
“Forsakenness is to be cast off, abandoned, deserted, left, spurned, ditched, marooned, walked out on, jilted. Forsakenness carries all the emotional thrust of a knife in the back or a punch in the gut.” ~ Pastor Anyabwile
In Chapter 2, Christ’s anguish only intensifies as we explore the depths of His words, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’
“Jesus was not finally forsaken, and neither is anyone who trusts in Him…We discover that, as the Puritan John Owen put it, the death of Jesus Christ means the death of death itself.” ~ Pastor Anyabwile
Pastor Anyabwile asks readers to linger in Chapter 3 among the three days during which Christ was buried to consider the nature of death, Christ death specifically and His victory over death itself. This victory over death includes those who trust in Christ.
This is also the chapter where Pastor Anyabwile exhorts unbelievers to consider the implications of death and shares the Gospel, urging them to repent of their sin and place their trust in Christ that they might be saved.
“Do you live with death or the resurrection in view?” ~ Pastor Anyabwile
Luke 24 opens Chapter 4 with the angels asking the women at the empty tomb, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” These women had their minds fixed on death but Christ was alive. This truth assaulted the authority of their emotions by pointing to a higher authority – that our emotions are not to be rooted in our experiences but rather on the promises of God’s Word.
“Knowing Jesus requires that God supernaturally open our eyes with spiritual sight.” ~ Pastor Anyabwile
The final chapter, Chapter 5, delves into epistemology in relation to Christ and His resurrection with a final exhortation to unbelievers to repent from their sin and place their trust in Christ that they might be saved.
Captivated is a crisp read of less than one hundred pages containing questions at the end of each chapter to provide further study. Captivated would benefit a young Christian or provide a refreshing revisit to the mature Believer.
One caveat; Pastor Anyabwile uses terms such as ‘meditations, contemplate, gaze’ and with the current trends in some Christian circles advocating ‘Contemplative Prayer’ or ‘Contemplative Meditations’ readers are cautioned to discern the Biblical understanding of these terms to avoid falling into error.
“May we behold His face and be satisfied as we’re changed from one degree of glory to another in Him.” ~ Pastor Anyabwile
Disclosure: This book was provided courtesy of Reformation Heritage Books and Cross-Focused Reviews in exchange for my review.
Purchase CAPTIVATED: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile
Listen as Pastor Anyabwile discusses his book, CAPTIVATED.