Lessons from the Upper Room: The Heart of the Savior by Sinclair Ferguson. Ligonier Ministries. 237 pages. 2021
In this book, respected theologian Sinclair Ferguson, in his distinctive warm writing style, takes us through chapters 13 through 17 of John’s gospel, John’s description of events in the upper room on the evening before Jesus’ crucifixion. In five chapters, 155 verses, and less than four thousand words we are given what the Puritan writer Thomas Goodwin called “a window into Christ’s heart.” Ferguson tells us that in some ways, chapters 13–17 are a gospel within the gospel; in fact, they reflect the shape of the whole.
I had previously benefitted from Ferguson’s twelve message teaching series Lessons from the Upper Room that was released by Ligonier Ministries in 2014. This book contains significantly more content than the original teaching series, though Ferguson tells us that the book is by no means a complete exposition of John 13–17.
Ferguson invites us to climb the stairs leading to an upper room on a house in Jerusalem. Here we can eavesdrop on what transpired during the late afternoon and evening of the day before the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. He tells us that thirteen men have come together for a Passover meal. One will leave early on a mission of betrayal. The remaining twelve will later make their way to the garden of Gethsemane. From there they will be scattered. One will be taken by force on a nightmare journey. By this time tomorrow, Friday, the lifeless body of Jesus of Nazareth will be carried to a garden tomb. But this is not the end, just the end of the beginning. For early on Sunday morning, He will rise again from the dead. He now lives forever as a Prince and Savior.
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