Few days ago, I finished reading Justin Taylor and Andreas Köstenberger’s book The Final Days of Jesus. In between loads of laundry, I turned to the book and was gripped again and again with the events of the final week of Jesus.

I’ve probably read the gospels a few dozen times since I became a Christian and have studied some parts of it in detail but nothing prepared me for the sense of clarity that I got by reading the story again in chronological order. That, I think, is the biggest strength of this book. I have always tried to ignore the “inconsistencies” of the gospel accounts of the final week of Jesus because I could not figure out how to reconcile them. For example, Jesus’ triumphal entry in Matthew 21 concluded with him overturning the tables of money-changers in the temple. In Mark, however, he simply looked around and went home to Bethany. Which one is correct? Or take the resurrection story as another example. How many women went to the tomb? And how many angels were there? Matthew and Mark mentioned only one angel while Luke said there were two. The authors showed that these details are not inconsistencies but marks of authenticity of the accounts. Even in modern investigations, no two witnesses say the same exact things.

Some might call us spoiled. We live in an era of significant and substantial resources for Christians on living the Christian life. We have ready access to books, DVD series, online material, seminars– all in the interest of encouraging us in our daily walk with Christ. The laity, the people in the pew, have access to more information than scholars dreamed of having in previous centuries.

Yet for all our abundance of resources, we also lack something. We tend to lack the perspective from the past, perspectives from a different time and place than our own. To put the matter differently, we have so many riches in our current horizon that we tend not to look to the horizons of the past.