On Good Friday, March 30, 2018, Fleming Rutledge, renowned author and Episcopalian priest, preached on the Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ. At the three-hour service hosted by St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City, Rutledge shared seven meditations, published in their entirety in this short book. The meditations succinctly capture a topic she expounded on in her earlier book, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, which won the 2017 Book of the Year Award from Christianity Today.
As Rutledge explores topics such as the nature of forgiveness, justification, and atonement, she seeks to help readers better understand God’s sacrifice of Jesus on the first Good Friday. She does so in relevant, contemporary language, peppering her exposition with current newsworthy examples.
Rutledge compares and contrasts the narratives of the gospel writers and shows how each tells the story of Jesus’ passion and death from his own unique perspective: “Each of the four has done his work painstakingly in order to convey in the most arresting terms the profound, world-overthrowing significance of the crucifixion of Jesus.” In each narrative, Fleming points out, this truth emerges: “The crucifixion is not just an unfortunate thing that happened to Jesus on his way to the resurrection . . . It is precisely on the cross that the work of Jesus is carried through to its completion.”
Readers of Three Hours will find in its reflections a worthwhile, spiritually enlightening space in which to dwell during Lent. (Eerdmans)