Thursday, May 19, 2011

King's Cross by Timothy Keller

This is the first book that I have read cover to cover by Tim Keller. And it was really good! King's Cross is Keller's account of the Gospel of Mark. Keller has a very easy style of writing that moves very quickly and makes his point very directly. He has a way of taking the story of the Bible and weaving it so that it just makes sense. He is very skilled at using even current illustrations from our culture to help explain the importance of the King and His Cross.

The book is divided into two sections: The King (Mark 1-8) & The Cross (Mark 9-16), hence the name King's Cross. Each chapter deals with a certain portion of the gospel account. In each chapter, he will define what is going on, how it plays into the overall theme of the gospel of Mark and ultimately point to the cross. That is probably what I enjoyed the most of each chapter. Usually the last couple pages of every chapter had a road that led to the cross of Jesus and the gospel message.

For instance, in chapter eight, Keller tells the story of Syrophoenician Woman who asks Jesus to heal her daughter of her demon possession & the story of Jesus healing a deaf man by the Sea of Galilee (Mark 7:24-37). Good stories, right? She begs, Jesus eventually goes and heals her daughter (that is the story where the woman, being a Gentile, says that even if she is considered a "dog" she still needs help). People bring a deaf man, Jesus heals him after he gives out a sigh. What Keller does is show the connection Mark is making (by Jesus making a deep sigh) with Isaiah 35:5, the only other place a word like this is used (in the Septuagint at least).
"Mark is saying: Do you see the blind opening their eyes? Do you see the deaf hearing, do you hear the mute tongue shouting for joy? God has come, just as Isaiah 35 promised; God has come to save you. Jesus Christ is God come to save us. Jesus is the King" (94). 
The only problem with this view is that Isaiah 35 has to do with divine retribution and Jesus isn't coming to smite people. So where's the retribution?
"Where's the divine retribution? And the answer is, he didn't come to bring divine retribution; he came to bear it. On the cross, Jesus would identify with us totally. On the cross, the Child of God was thrown away, cast away from the table without a crumb, so that those of us who are not children of God could be adopted and brought in. Put another way, the Child had to become a dog so that we could become sons and daughters at the table" (94). 
The book is filled with analogies like this. It is very insightful. This is one of those books that I might actually order several of to keep them stashed away to give to those who are searching. I would give it to skeptics. I would give it to those who do not know who Jesus is. It is one of those books. It would be well worth your time to give it a read. He ends the book with these words:
"The gospel is the ultimate story that shows victory coming out of defeat, strength coming out of weakness, life coming out of death, rescue from abandonment. And because it is a true story, it gives us hope because we know life is really like that. It can be your story as well. God made you to love him supremely, but he lost you. He returned to get you back, but it took the cross to do it. He absorbed your darkness so that one day you can finally and dazzlingly become your true self and take your seat at his eternal feast" (230).

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