Friday, April 24, 2009

The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper

I do not come from a church tradition that requires giving up something for Lent. But I liked the suggestion from several book bloggers that I could prepare my heart for Easter another way - by reading books specifically about Christ’s life and death. The title of Piper’s book, The Passion of Jesus Christ , seemed to fit the bill, especially with its intriguing subtitle: “Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die”.

Each of the fifty brief chapters is simply written and based on a specific scripture verse which Piper goes on to explain. Chapter 8, for example, is on Mark 10:45 (“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”) The next two pages describe what it means to be ransomed. Sound boring? It isn’t. Because of the brevity of each section you don’t get bogged down in deep theological treatises. Instead you get a quick overview of the amazing gift of salvation that we have received through Jesus Christ. Most of us can name the obvious reasons He came to die: that we might be saved from sin, from God’s wrath and from hell. But could we name FIFTY?

The Passion gives a broader picture of salvation. We are not just saved FROM certain things, but are saved FOR others (deeper marriages – #35, good works – #36, to destroy hostility between races – #44, etc.) Although it is written in laymen’s terms for easy understanding, it contains many profound thoughts as well; I look forward to re-visiting the book during future Lenten seasons.

From Chapter 7: There is no salvation by balancing the records. There is only salvation by canceling the records. The record of our bad deeds, along with the penalties that each deserves, must be blotted out…. The cancellation happened when the record of our deeds was “nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:13). How was this damning record nailed to the cross? Parchment was not nailed to the cross. Christ was.

2 comments:

Amy said...

This sounds like a great book. I have never read one of Piper's books, 'though I do see his name mentioned frequently and glowingly around the book and Christian blogosphere.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Janet said...

I haven't read anything by Piper either, though every time I hear someone talk about something they've read I feel the pang of "I need to get my hands on that!" No surprise that I'm feeling the pang again after reading this review. Sounds like a book to break the habit of reciting the same formulaic answers.