I just finished reading Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson. I enjoyed it immensely, especially during this period of Lent. This relatively short book has five chapters, each one eyeing the scandal of the last days of Jesus through a particular passage of Scripture:
- The Ironies of the Cross: Matthew 27:27-51a
- The Center of the Whole Bible: Romans 3:21-26
- The Strange Triumph of a Slaughtered Lamb: Revelation 12
- A Miracle Full of Surprises: John 11:1-53
- Doubting the Resurrection of Jesus: John 20:24-31
My favorite section by far was about the ironies of the cross. Carson’s expertise in New Testament history and theology comes out clearly here, as I’ve never considered the ironic nature of this account. For exmaple, he presents the soldiers mockery of Jesus as ironic because of their attempt to be ironic. In their efforts, they hang a sign over the cross which, from our vantage point, actually presents the truth of His identity. Or when Jesus is told that it’s ironic that He claimed to save others and yet can’t save Himself. The true irony is that only by not saving Himself is He able to save others. This section in particular gave a new depth to all of those statements during the crucifixion that we have come to know and yet not really thought fully about.
In addition to this section, Carson has a very provacative explanation in chapter 3 about the book of Revelation. He, in a very understandable and succinct way, explains his interpretation of many of the symbols we find there. And in reading it, I enjoyed it alot more than most other stuff I’ve read that attempted to do the same thing. I highly recommend it to you as we are in the season set aside specifically to remember the death of Jesus.