"The real frustration I had was all these great and good from the evangelical world inside the front cover who said this is the greatest treatment of the biblical doctrine of atonement. And so I thought wouldn't it be interesting to see what they do with the material of the gospels. How do they read John 19? How do they read Mark? How do they read Jesus whole ministry in relation to his death. Deafening silence. Virtually nothing in the book on the gospels. And that set me thinking, because as I've said in other places, I really think the western world has forgotten what the gospels are there for. And the result of that is that we take our theology from bits of Paul that we think we know what to do with, and we just grab a line here, a verse here, a passage there from the gospels to fit into that. Whereas Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are all written in such a way as to lead the eye up to the crucifixion of Jesus as the climax of a massive narrative. Which is the narrative of creation, the narrative of Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets. "
This resonates with my experience. When I really read the gospels with an open mind... I started seeing verses that spoke of a good news message I had been taught before. I'd heard many great stories about Jesus. But when it came to my understanding the gospel and essential Christian doctrine, Paul seemed to be more our authority.
"...What did Jesus think about the meaning of his own death?"