4 out of 4 stars
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One often hears about witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When I saw the title Witnesses to the Crucifixion, I found it unusual and was in two minds whether to read it. However, the thought of the Lord’s passion touched my heart, and I selected it in spite of the Easter season. Written by Ricky Carstensen with James E. Doucette, this book has only 82 pages (including illustrations and scriptural quotations), but it has a very deep message that could change your life. Ricky is a pastor with 33 years of experience in the ministry. James is a retired businessman and has published several books.
Ricky was inspired by the novel The Silent Witness by Lionel Luckhoo and John Thompson in which Jesus undergoes a modern trial in a courtroom with several witnesses on both sides. He wondered what the crown of thorns, purple robe, nails, spear, burial shroud, and stone at the entrance of the tomb would have to say as witnesses if they were personified. Did the precious blood of the Savior have any effect on them too? This became one of the themes for his sermons over the years, which he has compiled in Witnesses to the Crucifixion. He wants to say that there is power in the blood of Jesus Christ that can transform you too.
“It wasn’t really me who kept Him nailed to that cross,” said the Nail. “It was His love for you that kept Him there.” These words brought tears in my eyes as I experienced sorrow for Jesus’ passion and the joy of being loved. After reading this book, I felt that the Nail was a better witness than I have been. And so, you’ll find pictures of these personified objects used to humiliate the King, nail him like a criminal for stealing hearts, pierce his broken heart to empty out his love and forgiveness, wrap him with ointments, and keep his body locked in the tomb. The more bitterly and hatefully they were used to hurt him, the more sweetly Jesus loved and forgave them all. The more I hurt him, the more he loves me! This is the personal message of redemption and healing I received through these witnesses.
I loved all the witnesses in the book, but especially the Nail that was once in the toolbox of a carpenter. There is nothing that I disliked in the text. It can be used for meditation and retreats, especially during Lent and Easter. Scriptural passages at the beginning of every chapter are the Word of God speaking directly to you. I won’t give out more details in this review because that would spoil the delight of being touched by the witnesses in their own words. The tombstones say, “We no longer hold bodies forever, as some believe. We only hold them until forever.” The book ends with “The Legend of the Dogwood Tree,” which was written by James.
As mentioned in the book itself, Witnesses to the Crucifixion has been professionally edited. For all the reasons described above, I am happy to rate it 4 out of 4 stars. It is suitable for readers of all age groups. Even children may like to listen to their parents or grandparents reading these stories to them. Whether you are a Christian or not, you will enjoy it. Pastors and evangelizers may like to use the contents of this book when they preach.
Witnesses to The Crucifixion
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