Book Review: Jesus’ Final Week

Jesus’ Final Week by William F. Cook III is a straight-forward look at Jesus’ last days leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection, covering from his triumphal entry of Jerusalem to the empty tomb. (Yet, despite what the cover says, it also includes the Saturday before Palm Sunday where Mary anoints Jesus, which I found to be an interesting and important prelude to the coming week.) This brief read includes the relevant historical, cultural, and biblical information for a deeper understanding of the events, including information from all four Gospels and the Old Testament. The author also briefly tackles interpretive or historical challenges to the text, such as perceived contradictions between the Gospels’ accounts. At under 200 pages, Jesus’ Final Week does a decent job of covering all the needed information while not being overwhelming. It would be a great guide for a Bible study or a pastor to use for a series leading up to Resurrection Sunday. Though there is a “Final Reflections” section at the end of each chapter (as well as a corresponding “Hymn of Response”), I found the book more helpful as a source for information than as a devotional. I am using it as a guide at my micro-church as I lead a series on Jesus’ “last week” before that amazing Sunday when we discover that it wasn’t, in fact, his last week. He is risen!

*B&H Academic provided me with a free copy for review.

A Short Message for Resurrection Sunday: Blind Faith or Trust?


“Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46)

God the Son has existed for eternity in perfect fellowship with God the Father. When God the Son became Jesus, though he was both God and man, he voluntarily gave up his rights as God and submitted wholly to the will of the Father.

Philippians 2:6-8 tells us Jesus “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant… he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

When Jesus took on himself the sins of the world and willingly endured the utter terror of crucifixion, he demonstrated perfect faith in God the Father.

As a former self-professed atheist, I can tell you, skeptics don’t like the word faith. They portray faith as “blind faith” — as belief without evidence. But a more accurate understanding of Christian faith is found in the word “trust.” As your time with Christ grows, so will your trust of him. As you pray, grow more familiar with His Scripture and live according to it, and partake in His church, your trust will strengthen. Nonbelievers can’t understand Christian faith because they have never walked with Christ.

When the Holy Spirit woke me out of the murkiness of atheism years ago, I did take a leap of faith. Now, after nine years of walking with Christ, when I don’t know what the future holds, I can say with confidence, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

Faith is not belief without evidence, but belief because of prior evidence.

All praise to the God who was crucified, who rose from the tomb three days later, defeating death and sin. All praise to the God who completed the work for our salvation, and just as He freely offered his life for our sins, now offers us His free gift of salvation – a free gift we can accept or reject, but a free gift nonetheless – free for us but not for him.