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Preparing for Easter
March 08, 2012
Easter is fast approaching. As Christians begin to turn their gaze towards the death and resurrection of the Savior, it seems appropriate that we should look for resources that will help us meditate on the cross and that will help prepare our hearts. To that end I’d like to suggest five books (plus a few more resources at the end) that you may wish to read as Easter approaches.
The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy
There are few books I’ve recommended more highly and more often than this one. An absolute gem, this book contains a series of beautiful, stirring meditations on the cross. Here is how I concluded my review of the book. “Perhaps part of the beauty and significance of this book, was that it came unannounced. There was no lofty position for it to attain to. And perhaps it is best that way. And so I will leave it with merely my wholehearted recommendation and the knowledge that I will return to it often. This short book is an invaluable treasure and I am certain that the reflections it contains will stay with me and come to heart and mind whenever I meditate upon the cross of Christ.”
The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul
From my review: “Is this the best book on the cross I’ve ever read? Perhaps. I don’t know that I would recommend this in place of The Cross He Bore but it certainly would make a wonderful complement to Leahy’s title. Less reflective and meditative, but with a greater emphasis on teaching theology, The Truth of the Cross will be a great addition to any library. This and The Cross He Bore could be read together every year and would undoubtedly bring great blessing with each reading. It is good to remember the cross and to come to a greater understanding of what it means and why it matters. The Truth of the Cross will center your thoughts upon the cross and upon the One Who went there willingly so that we could have life.”
Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
From my review: “Mahaney delights in the cross. The reader will only be able to conclude that the cross is what motivates his life and his ministry. His enthusiasm, his desire, his love for the gospel message in infectious. Always focused on the truths of Scripture, Mahaney draws the reader back to the very center and focus of the Christian faith. The reader will be given much grounds for rejoicing and much grounds for deeper, prayerful reflection. The reader will be led near to the cross where he can experience the power of the Son of God. He will learn the need for the cross, the power of the cross and the wonderful benefits that have been extended to us because of the cross. He will learn why this cross stands at the center of our faith and why we must always hold it there.”
The Cross of Christ by John Stott
Though I had often read portions of this book, it was only in the past year that I finally read it from cover-to-cover. It is well worth the effort. Regarded as a classic and now in its twentieth-anniversary edition, this book is likely to be regarded as Stott’s finest work. It is foundational to many of the other titles I’ve listed and is probably the most-widely referenced book on the subject.
Pierced for Our Transgressions by Jeffery, Ovey & Sach
Endorsed by a veritable who’s who of conservative evangelicals, this book is a strong and biblical defense of the historic Protestant doctrine of the penal substitution of Jesus Christ. It deserves to be widely read, widely studied and widely influential. Jeffery, Ovey and Sach have done the church a service with this volume. I’m grateful for it and commend it to you.
A Few More Resources to Consider
- Spurgeon’s Sermons on Christmas and Easter
- Nancy Guthrie’s book, Jesus, Keep me Near the Cross
- John MacArthur’s, The Murder of Jesus (see my review)
- Easter Sunday sermons by John Piper