Take Time to Reflect: Recommended Books and Sermons for Easter

Recommended Resources for Easter

As we enter the days and weeks before Easter, it’s appropriate for us to set aside time to reflect on the astonishing truth that Christ Jesus, the Son of God, came in order to die that broken sinners could have their sins forgiven and be reconciled to God. We hope that the resources listed below will be helpful to you as you contemplate this wonderful gift.

The Cross of Christ

By John Stott
The Cross of Christ

At the cross, preacher John Stott finds the majesty and love of God disclosed and the sin and bondage of the world exposed. More than a study of the atonement, this book brings Scripture into living dialogue with Christian theology and the twentieth century. What emerges is a pattern for Christian life and worship, hope and mission.

The Cross: The Pulpit of God’s Love

By Iain H. Murray
The Cross

The atonement is at the center of the Christian faith. The purpose of Gospel preaching is to make known what God has done in the cross of Jesus Christ. But how are we to preach the cross? Does our preaching resemble that of the New Testament apostles? Does it match the passionate freeness with which the church’s greatest evangelists preached the cross to needy sinners? In this booklet, Iain Murray helps us to think through the message of the cross, to appreciate God’s love and justice in the death of Christ, and to grasp the truth afresh that “by Christ crucified the love of God and his willingness to save is to be made known to all people.”

The Cross He Bore: Meditations on the Sufferings of the Redeemer

By Frederick Leahy
The Cross He Bore

Frederick Leahy spent a lifetime in the ministry of the Word. In these pages, preacher, pastor, and theologian come together in a happy unity. No words are wasted. There is nothing of the frothy and insubstantial.

Here is satisfying truth, painstakingly quarried and crafted for the needs of God’s people.

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter

Edited by Nancy Guthrie
Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross

In a culture where crosses have become little more than decorative accessories and jewelry, how easy it is for even the most well-intended Christian to rush from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday without thoughtfully contemplating the cross and all that it means. Yet we miss out on spiritual riches when we do.

So that we all may linger at the cross during the Easter season—and stay near it the whole year through—editor Nancy Guthrie has compiled this special anthology. It draws from the works and sermons of classic theologians such as Luther, Edwards, Spurgeon, Ryle, and Augustine, and from leading contemporary communicators such as John Piper, R. C. Sproul, Francis Schaeffer, John MacArthur, Skip Ryan, and Joni Eareckson Tada to help readers enter into an experience of Christ’s passion and anchor their hope in the power of His resurrection.

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die

By John Piper
50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die

Why? The most important questions anyone can ask are: Why was Jesus Christ crucified? Why did He suffer so much? What has this to do with me? Finally, who sent Him to His death? The answer to the last question is that God did. Jesus was God’s Son. The suffering was unsurpassed, but the whole message of the Bible leads to this answer.

The central issue of Jesus’ death is not the cause but the meaning—God’s meaning. That is what this book is about. John Piper has gathered from the New Testament fifty reasons—not fifty causes, but fifty purposes—in answer to the most important question that each of us must face: What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending His Son to die?

The Cross: God’s Way of Salvation

By Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The Cross

Ever since his first sermon in 1925, Martyn Lloyd-Jones consistently emphasized the significance of Christ’s sacrifice for our sake. This collection of sermons reveals this theme in Lloyd-Jones’s classic expository style, showing his gift for combining a warm, personal devotion to Jesus Christ with deep theological insight. His grasp of Scripture still causes the maturest believer to ponder, yet he brings a simplicity of thought to his preaching that even a child can understand and enjoy.

The Cross explains how Christ’s crucifixion works for our redemption and why this even is the cornerstone of the Christian life. From one of this century’s greatest preachers, this book provides excellent reading for ministers and anyone seeking a closer walk with Christ.

The Truth of the Cross

By R. C. Sproul
The Truth of the Cross

Dr. R. C. Sproul surveys the great work accomplished by Jesus Christ through His crucifixion—the redemption of God’s people. Dr. Sproul considers the atonement from numerous angles and shows conclusively that the cross was absolutely necessary if anyone was to be saved.

Opening the Scriptures, Dr. Sproul shows that God Himself provided salvation by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross and that the cross was always God’s intended method by which to bring salvation. The Truth of the Cross is an uncompromising reminder that the atonement of Christ is an absolutely essential doctrine of the Christian faith, one that should be studied and understood by all believers.

In My Place Condemned He Stood:
Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement

By J. I. Packer and Mark Dever
In My Place Condemned He Stood

If ever there was a time and a need for an enthusiastic reaffirmation of the biblical doctrine of substitutionary atonement, it is now. With this foundational tenet under widespread attack, J. I. Packer and Mark Dever’s anthology plays an important role, issuing a clarion call to readers to stand firm in the truth.

In My Place Condemned He Stood combines three classic articles by Packer—“The Heart of the Gospel”; his Tyndale Biblical Theology Lecture, “What Did the Cross Achieve?”; and his introductory essay to John Owen’sThe Death of Death in the Death of Christ—with Dever’s recent article, “Nothing but the Blood.” Thoughtful readers looking for a compact classic on this increasingly controversial doctrine need look no farther than this penetrating volume.

Journey to the Cross (Audio Series)

By Alistair Begg
Journey to the Cross

In this series, Alistair Begg leads us through the dramatic events surrounding Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane, interrogation before Pilate, crucifixion at Calvary, and resurrection from the grave. In the apostle John’s account, we encounter Jesus in all His majesty as He calmly faces down His opponents and, ultimately, His own death on the cross. In the process, the incarnate Son of God, Messiah, and true King confronts us with His work on our behalf to offer salvation. These are credible, historical realities. Will we respond to the invitation to believe them?

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The Gospel According to Luke, Volume 11 (Audio Series)

By Alistair Begg
The Gospel According to Luke, Volume 11

As the Gospel of Luke begins, its author declares his intent to compile “an orderly account” of the person of Jesus so that anyone who reads it “may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” When we open its pages, this is exactly what we find. Tracing Jesus’ life from His nativity and ministry to His crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension, Luke presents us with a portrait of a perfect, divine Savior in whom we can believe fully and securely.

In volume eleven of this series, Alistair Begg walks us through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Luke’s account focuses not on the sensational details of Jesus’ suffering but on what He accomplished at the cross. We see figures like Herod, the Roman centurion, Joseph of Arimathea, and the women at the tomb face an important decision: Will they go on as they always have, or will they be changed by the redemptive work and certain resurrection of Christ?

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Life after Death (Audio Series)

By Alistair Begg
Life After Death

In every generation, one subject remains a source of fascination and fear: death. Is it really the end? What happens afterwards? At a time when people are increasingly preoccupied with stories of out-of-body experiences and are wondering about reincarnation, 1 Corinthians 15 is unique and striking in its impact. Here is the classical Christian discussion of the most vital subject. We do well to pay careful attention so that in a matter marked by great confusion we might learn to speak with clarity and conviction. In learning how to die, we find the key to learning how to live.

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Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

By D. A. Carson

How are Christians to approach the central Gospel teachings concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus? The Bible firmly establishes the historicity of these events and doesn’t leave their meanings ambiguous or open to interpretation. Even so, there is an irony and surprising strangeness to the cross. D. A. Carson shows that this strange irony has deep implications for our lives as he examines the history and theology of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

The Case for Easter: A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Resurrection

By Lee Strobel
The Case for Easter

Did Jesus of Nazareth really rise from the dead?

Of the many world religions, only one claims that its founder returned from the grave. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very cornerstone of Christianity.

But a dead man coming back to life? In our sophisticated age, when myth has given way to science, who can take such a claim seriously? Some argue that Jesus never died on the cross. Conflicting accounts make the empty tomb seem suspect. And post-crucifixion sightings of Jesus have been explained in psychological terms.

How credible is the evidence for—and against—the resurrection? Focusing his award-winning skills as a legal journalist on history’s most compelling enigma, Lee Strobel retraces the startling findings that led him from atheism to belief. Drawing on expert testimony first shared in his blockbuster book The Case for Christ, Strobel examines:

  • The Medical Evidence: Was Jesus’ death a sham and His resurrection a hoax?
  • The Evidence of the Missing Body: Was Jesus’ body really absent from His tomb?
  • The Evidence of Appearances: Was Jesus seen alive after His death on the cross?

Written in a hard-hitting journalistic style, The Case for Easter probes the core issues of the resurrection.

Jesus Christ, risen from the dead: superstitious myth or life-changing reality? The evidence is in. The verdict is up to you.

The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross

By A. W. Pink
The Seven Says of the Saviour on the Cross

The words Christ spoke from the cross can inform Christians of the purpose, the meaning, the sufferings, and the sufficiency of His death. After an introduction that discusses the nature of Christ’s death as natural, unnatural, preternatural, and supernatural, Dr. Arthur W. Pink clearly illustrates the lessons that can be drawn from Christ’s words—lessons on forgiveness, salvation, affection, anguish, suffering, victory, and contentment. This comprehensive and accessible volume is useful for both sermon preparation and personal study.

Risen: 50 Reasons Why the Resurrection Changed Everything

By Steven D. Mathewson

What would happen if believers truly grasped how the resurrection of Jesus changes not just their own standing with God but everything? In the spirit of John Piper’s Fifty Reasons Why Christ Came to Die, Steven D. Mathewson unpacks the New Testament Scriptures that speak of the reasons Jesus was raised from the dead.

Mathewson offers faith-filled meditations on the primary passages on the resurrection, taking these ancient truths and applying them to contemporary life. Risen explains not only why Jesus had to die but also why His resurrection was necessary and how our lives change when we understand and embrace this essential truth of the Christian faith.


Edited by Gabriel N. E. Fluhrer

Atonement contains insights from some of the best pastor-theologians of the last century (e.g., James Packer, R. C. Sproul, John R. Gerstner, Sinclair Ferguson, John R. DeWitt, and Alistair Begg) and covers a multitude of topics related to the atonement. Ranging from the necessity of the atonement to the homiletic power of the cross, each chapter helps the reader gain a deeper understanding about the nature and purpose of the atonement. Biblical exposition is the trademark of every author, and each subject is explained and applied with precision and persuasiveness.

Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

By Thabiti Anyabwile

The Bible implores us to take a long look at Jesus, forcefully beckoning us to “come and see” through profound questions connected with Jesus’ death and resurrection. These questions drive us to consider not just the events themselves but also their meaning. In Captivated, Thabiti Anyabwile invites the reader to stare into the mystery of the cross and empty tomb.

The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived

By Andreas J. Köstenberger, Justin Taylor, with Alexander Stewart
The Final Days of Jesus

Nearly two thousand years later, the events that took place during Jesus’ last days still reverberate through the ages. Designed as a day-by-day guide to Passion Week, The Final Days of Jesus leads us to reexamine and meditate on the history-making, earth-shaking significance of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and empty tomb.

Combining a chronological arrangement of the Gospel accounts with insightful commentary, charts, and maps, this book will help you better understand what actually happened all those years ago—and why it matters today.

Salvation by Crucifixion

By Philip G. Ryken
Salvation by Crucifixion

Philip Graham Ryken celebrates Easter with this thoughtful guidebook to understanding the cross. Seven answers to seven questions explain the why and the wherefore of the cross for a biblical faith and a Christian life.

Ryken covers the necessity of the cross for salvation; the offense it gives to Jews, gentiles, and any moral individual; the peace it brings to those who trust in Christ; the power it has to achieve God’s loving, saving purpose; the triumph it wins over sin, death, and the judgment of God; the humility it displays in the character of Jesus; and the boast it becomes for every believer.

To Seek and to Save: Daily Reflections on the Road to the Cross

By Sinclair Ferguson
To Seek and to Save

What would it have been like to travel along the road with Jesus and the disciples as they moved toward the most pivotal point in all of human history—the crucifixion?

Best-selling author Sinclair Ferguson’s To Seek and to Save invites us to journey alongside Jesus on His final trip to Jerusalem. In this five-week Lenten devotional drawn from the Gospel of Luke, Sinclair gives us an intimate, up-close look at the vivid characters Jesus encountered as He made His way purposefully toward Calvary. From a speechless man to a fearful flock to an offended Pharisee, Jesus met all kinds of people—some seeking help, some simply curious, and some wanting nothing to do with Him.

In its unique collection of brief daily readings, To Seek and to Save compels us to consider our own response to Jesus as we learn from those who met Him face-to-face. Will we remain curious onlookers? Will we dismiss Him and walk away? Or will we believe that He is who He claimed to be?

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