Matthew's Reviews > Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

Scandalous by D.A. Carson
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's review
Jan 26, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, favorites

D.A. Carson can preach.

I was introduced to this preaching when he spoke at my church’s Bible conference a few years back on the person of Jesus Christ. I was blown away by Dr. Carson’s intellect, his ability to point out things in scripture I’d never seen before, his passion for Christ, and the witty, entertaining way in which he was able to do all of this. He simply made the Bible come alive to me in way I’d never experienced before.

His new book, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, did exactly the same thing.

Carson examines 5 different texts from the Bible from Matthew 27, Romans 3, Revelation 12, John 11, and John 20. These are heavy passages, dealing with the crucifixion of Jesus, his raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the disciple Thomas’ doubting. The other passages tackle “the center of the whole Bible” (Romans 3), which connects the Old and New Testaments, as well John’s prophetic visions in Revelation. Difficult parts of the Bible to explain, to say the least, but Carson is able to plumb the depths of these theologically packed passages in such an insightful and concise way as to make them manageable and beautiful. The book is simply a feast for those who love to hear the Bible taught passionately and clearly.

It’s hard to pick a favorite chapter as they were all fantastic, but I really enjoyed the discussion of the stories of Lazarus and Thomas. We’ve heard these stories so many times; it would be easy for them to feel familiar and less powerful than they should. Carson’s talent doesn’t allow for this response. He brings you right into the settings of the passages, and you feel like you’re watching the story unfold before you for the first time, seeing the actions of Jesus in completely new ways. I’ve yet to find many other authors who have this skill for making the scriptures so real to me.

These 5 chapters were given as sermons at Mars Hill Church in Seattle back in December of 2008 as part of a Resurgence Conference. I was lucky enough to catch these sermons online. I don’t always enjoy reading a book after hearing the material preached live, but the writing in Scandalous makes you feel like you’re sitting there, talking personally to Dr. Carson as he explains and expounds upon the deep truths of scripture. He simply has a gift for exposition and it shines gloriously in this book.
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