Book Review—The Scriptures, the Cross, & the Power of God

The Scriptures, the Cross, & the Power of God: Reflections for Holy Week by Tom (N. T.) Wright. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006. xi, 84 pp. $12.95/paperback.

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover

ISBNs: 0664230512 & 9780664230517

LCCN: BT414 .W75 2006

DCN: 242.36 WRI

Subjects: Easter, Christianity

Tom (N. T.) Wright (b. 1948) is the Bishop of Durham in the Church of England. He is one of Great Britain’s most respected New Testament scholars. In 1999, Christianity Today named him as one of the top five theologians in the world. He has authored several books and is most noted for his “Everyone” series of commentaries.

The significance of the events of Holy Week is sometimes missed in the midst of the pageantry and programs that are prepared to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. In a series of messages for Holy Week 2005, Bishop Tom Wright draws our attention to some of those specific events in order to help us have “enriched understanding” and “empowered living out” of the Christian faith (p. x). He uses Matthew 22:29 as the challenge for all those who misinterpret the week and therefore miss some of its grandest teachings. In Matthew 22:29, Jesus declared that the Sadducees were in error about the resurrection because “they knew neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (p. x). When the Scriptures and the power of God are properly understood, Holy Week takes on a whole new significance and has ramifications for Christian living, today.

Wright walks you through the Week with a new angle and gives a fresh perspective to a well trodden path.Each of these chapters was originally a sermon delivered in Durham Cathedral during the week. They were compiled with very little editing, so they read as they were spoken. His logic is generally clear, but you need to pay attention to his steps in order to keep up. Each address begins with Wright’s own translation of the passage. Beginning on Palm Sunday and going through Maundy Thursday morning, Wright takes a close look at the teachings and parables of Jesus in Matthew 21:33-23:12. On Maundy Thursday evening and into Good Friday, he moves to John’s Gospel to discuss the betrayal and trial of Jesus. He goes back to Matthew for the Easter Vigil on Saturday with a look at chapter 28:1-10. Finally, he ends with John’s account of the Resurrection (John 20), emphasizing the fact that Easter is more than just “life after death.” Easter is more importantly “the beginning of that ‘life after life after death’, that after-after life” (p. 80).

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