Pastor Tim and I were very encouraged by the engagement of The Journey during this past Advent. Several of you came to us and shared how you enjoyed having an opportunity to engage the Christmas story on a different level. Some of you even asked if we would do another book study during Lent, especially since Adam Hamilton advertised one of his Lenten studies in the back of the book we were reading. We decided not to do another book study this Lent, but I wanted to give you an opportunity to still engage it if you wished, so for my “From the Pastors’ Bookshelf” this month, I offer my copy of “24 Hours That Changed the World” by Adam Hamilton.
In this book, Hamilton explores more fully the last day of Jesus’ life. Hamilton begins by exploring Jesus’ Passover meal with his disciples — a meal already steeped in meaning for the Jews — and shows how Jesus added new meaning to the traditional Seder meal. Then Hamilton takes us to the Garden of Gethsemane — another place steeped with historical meaning — where Jesus is deserted and betrayed. As we sit with Jesus in the garden we are invited to look inside ourselves and remember a time when God wanted us to do something we didn’t want to do. We are also invited to consider the times that we have betrayed God. Then we follow as Jesus is arrested and taken in front of the High Priest. Here
Hamilton asks us to consider how being motivated by fear keeps us from seeing what God is doing. Then as Jesus is led to Pilot, we are asked to put ourselves in Barabbas’ shoes because Barabbas is the first one who will know what it is like to have an innocent man die in his place and Hamilton also wants us to consider who and what we put our trust in. Hamilton even asks us to put ourselves in the shoes of Pilate asking, "Have we ever done the wrong thing to pacify the crowd?" From there, we witness as Jesus is brutally beaten and we are asked to consider the costliness of God’s grace. Then we are led to Golgotha where Jesus is crucified. Here we are invited to consider the many important meanings of Christ’s death for us. Hamilton then walks us through Friday evening and Holy Saturday and invites us to consider what the disciples were doing and thinking. And finally, Hamilton brings us to Easter morning where we are called to live life that is truly life without fear because Christ has conquered all that is evil in this world.
Included with this book is a DVD where Adam Hamilton supplements the book with some of the places believed to be the holy sites of the crucifixion, to give us a better sense of the history of Jesus’ last 24 hours. Also included on the DVD is a reflection from Hamilton about what would have happened if Judas had lived.
I invite you to put yourself in the story of Jesus’ last 24 hours and take seriously what it means for you. This book is a hard book to read, but one that may just bring significance and deeper meaning to what Christ did for you. Adam Hamilton does a great job of offering some possible ways to understand and make sense of Christ’s last 24 hours. May it draw you deeper into the love of Christ if you choose to read it.