Monday, March 3, 2014

REVIEW: Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection

Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and ResurrectionCaptivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.


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.

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If you enjoyed this review, please feel free to "like" it on GoodReads or Amazon.  Thanks.  I appreciate you!


  1. Looks interesting for those seeking knowledge and information and new insights Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Liked the way you reviewed this book, LuAnn :)

  2. Thank you, Shilpa. I was a little intimidated to review this book, and am SO glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

  3. Thinking this a fabulous addition to Lent reading..
    good for you to read and review , LuAnn - blessings today as we begin Lent with Ash Wednesday truth!

  4. Thanks so much, Sharon! May you grow and be blessed this season as well! :O)

    1. definitely finding it to be so... much learning as the journey continues =) thanks for your blessings!