“So much more than a simple book full of stories, songs and pictures; it can be used all year long whenever we want a way to revisit the power and majesty of the Savior fulfilling his mission and ponder our place in it as well.” —Beth W. Roach for the Association for Mormon Letters “There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter,” taught President Gordon B. Hinckley. “The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.” With this deeper understanding given by a modern prophet, Latter-day Saints have an increased opportunity during the period from Palm Sunday to Easter morning to reflect upon the last days of our Lord’s earthly ministry. In God So Loved the World: The Final Days of the Savior’s Life, author Eric D. Huntsman takes us on a scriptural journey through the last week of our Savior’s mortal life, culminating in His atoning sacrifice and joyous resurrection. The author, by drawing on his wide knowledge of historical context, cultural background, and biblical insights, increases our understanding of these momentous events and helps us draw closer to the Savior. Full-color fine-art paintings, photographs, maps, music, and topics for personal reflection are included to enhance our commemoration of Easter week. Brother Huntsman writes, “Each year has its rhythms with the passage of summer to fall, winter, and at last, again, spring. Holidays are part of that rhythm, helping us remember realities greater than mere seasons, and Easter, together with Christmas, can anchor each year securely in the promises of Jesus Christ.”
Growing up in a home with two different predominant Christian religions gave me some insight into Holy Week and palm Sunday, but I never fully understood the meaning of The Passion of Christ. This book brings the last week of Christ’s mortal life into focus. After reading God So Loved The World, I have a deeper knowledge of the events that led up to his Crucifixion and the ressurrection. Eric Huntsman uses scriptural passage from the Synoptic Gospels, words to hymns, sidebars and text boxes to weave a full portrait of each day of the week leading up to the final events of Easter. He also adds geographical photographs of surrounding areas Bethany and Jerusalem, plus fine art depictions of mentioned scenes to appeal to the visual learner. Mr. Huntsman’s rich knowledge and personal feelings of Christ’s sacrifice highlight depth and meaning that goes beyond just facts.
As a society we tend to place a huge focus on Christmas and forget to prepare ourselves for the miraculous event that occurred at the garden tomb. God So Loved the World points out numerous times that “without Easter there would be no Christmas.”
I will be passing this book on to my family members and applying the suggestions given for preparing for Easter beginning this Sunday. It was a timely read for me, and I have to thank Deseret Book for giving us a beautifully crafted account of Holy Week, and a wonderful tool to be used in teaching our children about Christ’s life here on earth. To order God So Loved The World and to read other customer reviews click here.