The Surprising Saviour - Scripture Teaching Library Ltd
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The Surprising Saviour


This is, in a sense, a book about a word. Each of its chapters considers a portion of Scripture where the Greek word thaumazō appears - a word most often translated in the Authorised Version as 'marvelled'. But it is also, and more importantly, a book about a Person, for, with the exception of the final chapter, each use of the word examined relates the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we trace this word through the gospels, we are reminded that we have a surprising Saviour - a Saviour Whose uniqueness, seen in so many different ways, caused men and women to marvel as they encountered Him during the days of His flesh. Those same unique glories should still move us to worship and should still surprise us. This book takes a fresh look at familiar passages and well-known narratives with the goal of causing our souls to be filled with a renewed sense of wonder and a fresh appreciation of Christ.
About the author:

Mark Sweetnam

is in fellowship in the assembly at Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland. He is an Assistant Professor of English with Digital Humanities in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin, specialising in seventeenth-century literature and the history of evangelicalism. He is the author of a number of books including Sanctify Them Through Thy Truth: God's Word in Human History (published by John Ritchie), The Dispensations: God's Plan for the Ages, Worship: The Christian's Highest Calling, and To the Day of Eternity: Future Events in Bible Prophecy (published by Scripture Teaching Library).

Book Reviews:


Paperback, 68 pages.

Book review author: John Scarsbrook

This book is a compilation of the eleven articles that the author wrote for Truth and Tidings magazine, Canada, from 2019 to 2020. They are centred around the single Greek word thaumazo which, as the writer indicates in his introduction, ‘has as its root the idea of a response befitting the manifestation of the supernatural’.

Chapter 1 takes us through Nicodemus’ reaction to the Saviour’s teaching and His transforming message. Speaking of the familiarity of John chapter 3, Sweetnam makes the telling point, ‘In their familiarity, its words have lost something of their power to surprise us as they ought’. Chapter 2 covers the Lord in the synagogue at Nazareth and how amazement at His gracious words gave way to a murderous rage as the truth of them hit home. Chapter 3 deals with the Lord’s encounter with the woman of Samaria and the reaction of the disciples when they saw the Lord speaking with her at Sychar’s well. The author paints the background with skill and simplicity, establishing the wonder of the Lord’s interest in the spiritual welfare of a Samaritan woman - and one of such dubious reputation. Chapter 4 covers the Sea of Galilee and the calming of the storm. Considering the disciples’ question of the Lord as to His care during the storm, Sweetnam challenges us, ‘we can look back to Calvary, and see there the incontrovertible evidence that He cares’. Chapter 5 considers the Lord’s determination to go to Jerusalem and the response of the disciples as the Saviour taught of events that would follow. Chapter 6 brings us to the Lord’s trial before Pilate summarized by the author’s comment, ‘the Saviour stood silent, and Pilate marvelled’. Chapter 7 reflects upon Calvary and the fact that Pilate marvelled that the Lord was dead in so short a time following His crucifixion. Chapter 8 deals with the resurrection and the wonder of the empty tomb. Chapter 9 contemplates the sense of wonder that will be expressed when the Lord returns in glory to deliver the nation of Israel and establish His kingdom. Finally, chapter 10 (wrongly labelled chapter 11 in my copy) moves from the Lord to the apostles and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

This is a beautifully written book that was a pleasure to read. Even familiar passages were brought to life conveying something of the sense of wonder that the book is all about. It may be short, but it is choice material that is worth reading and re-reading that we all might develop a truer sense of wonder and worship of the One who is its central theme.

Credits: Precious Seed
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