The cross and the resurrection are not mythology; they are the fulcrum of the Christian story. Here they are taken up in five well-written and researched chapters exploring the last week of Jesus’ life, starting with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and ending at the empty tomb.

Some statements in the crucifixion chapter need more discussion. Is John’s record concerning the blood and water coming from Jesus’ side intended to be a historical or theological statement? There is no mention of the substitutionary nature of Jesus’ death; only that it was a good death that revealed a great love, and it raises more questions than it answers.

Explanations of words and text are boxed into the body of the text and are generally helpful, but did interrupt my flow of thought at times. Gooder’s observations on the Cursing of the Fig Tree and the Cleansing of the Temple were illuminating.

Described as a ‘semi-commentary’, the book aims to be ‘academically devotional’, but it is weighted more towards the intellectual than the devotional. If you are looking for a book to help you think through Easter, it will serve you well.

DOUG BARNETT is involved in a preaching, teaching and training ministry in the UK and the Middle East