Book Review: Jesus the King



The truth of the resurrection is of supreme and eternal importance.  It is the hinge upon which the story of the world pivots.” Tim Keller, Jesus the King

In Jesus the King, Tim Keller takes a very thorough look at the gospel as relayed in the Gospel of Mark.  This book is a great read just in time for the Lenten and Easter season as we reexamine the necessity of the resurrection in our lives as a part of God’s story.  As you read this book, you will want to have your Bible with the book of Mark open to make notes as well.  Keller is known for his commitment to share how the gospel impacts history and literature in a way that compels us to look to the cross.  This book was not a quick read for me because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to thoroughly consider the book of Mark and his perspective on the life and death of Jesus.

I highlighted several things while reading and have pasted them below…

  • The whole story of the world—and of how we fit into it—is most clearly understood through a careful, direct look at the story of Jesus.  My purpose here is to show, through his words and actions, how beautifully his life makes sense of ours.
  • You’re glorifying something when you find it beautiful for what it is in itself.  Its beauty compels you to adore it, to have your imagination captured by it.
  • Instead of self-centeredness, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are characterized in their very essence by mutually self-giving love.  No person in the Trinity insists that the others revolve around him; rather each of them voluntarily circles and orbits around the others.
  • God didn’t leave us to be defenseless.  God said to Jesus, “Obey me about the tree”—only this time the tree was a cross—“and you will die.”  And Jesus did.  He has gone before you into the heart of a very real battle, to draw you into the ultimate reality of the dance.  What he has enjoyed from all eternity, he has come to offer you.  And sometimes, when you’re in the deepest part of the battle, when you’re tempted and hurt and weak, you’ll hear in the septs of your being the same words Jesus heard: “This is my beloved child—you are my beloved child, whom I life; with you I’m well pleased.”
  • A gospel is an announcement of something that has happened in history, something that’s been done for you that changes your status forever.
  • Jesus is saying “Knowing me, loving me, resembling me, serving me must become the supreme passion of your life.  Everything else comes second.”  Mark 1:16-20
  • Come follow me.  Jesus is saying, “Follow me because I’m the King you’ve been looking for.  Follow me because I have authority over everything, yet I have humbled myself for you.  Because I  died on the cross for you when you didn’t have the right beliefs or the right behavior.  Because I have brought you news, not advice.  Because I’m your true love, your true life—follow me.”
  • It’s going to look as if your thread is taking you into dead ends, places where you’ll get bloody, where the only way to follow the thread looks like it could crush you.  But don’t try to go backward.  Don’t turn to the left; don’t turn to the right.  Jesus Christ’s kingship will not crush you.  He was crushed for you.  He followed his thread to the cross so you can follow yours into his arms.
  • Jesus is not going to play the rotten practical joke of giving you your deepest wish—until he has shown you that it was for him all along.
  • “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and I explained it this way: “I think God is saying,’I want you to meet the needs of other people with all of the joy, all of the eagerness, all of the urgency, all of the ingenuity, creativity, and industry with which you meet your own needs.  That’s the standard.  That’s how I want you to live your life.’”
  • Most of us work and work trying to prove ourselves, to convince God, others, and ourselves that we’re good people.  That work is never over unless we rest in the gospel.  At the end of his great act of creation the Lord said, “It is finished,” and he could rest.  On the cross at the end of his great act of redemption Jesus said, “It is finished”—and we can rest.  On the cross Jesus was saying of the work underneath your work—the thing that makes you truly weary, this need to prove yourself because who you are and what you do are never good enough—that it is finished.  He has lived the life you should have lived, he has died the death you should have died.   If you rely on Jesus’s finished work, you know that God is satisfied with you.  You can be satisfied with life.
  • On the cross Jesus experienced the restlessness of separation from God so that we can have the deep rest of knowing that he loves us and our sins have been forgiven.
  • The gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to both religion and irreligion.  It can’t be co-opted by either moralism or relativism.
  • If he’s Lord of the storm, then no matter what shape the world is in—or your life is in—you will find Jesus provides all the healing, all the rest, all the power you could possibly want.
  • Let us be conformed to his patience, that we might be make partakers of the resurrection.
  • God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Why did God create us and later redeem us at great cost even though he doesn’t need us?  He did it because he loves us.  His love is perfect love, radically vulnerable love.  And when you begin to get it, when you begin to experience it, the fakery and manipulativeness of your own love starts to wash away, and you’ve got the patience and security to reach out and start giving a truer love to other people.
  • without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.  Hebrews 9:22
  • When Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins, he won through losing; he achieved our forgiveness on the cross by turning the values of the world on their head.  He did not “fight fire with fire.”  He didn’t come and raise an army in order to put down the latest corrupt regime.  He didn’t take power; he gave it up—and yet he triumphed.  On the cross, then, the world’s misuse and glorification of power was exposed for what it is and defeated.  The spill of the world’s systems was broken.
  • Taking up your cross means for you to die to self-determination, die to control of your own life, die to using him for your agenda.
  • You see, if there really is a dance, then there really is a King who loves us without need.  And if there really is a stain we can’t wash out, then there is going to have to be a cross.
  • Worship is a preview of at the things that all of our hearts are longing for, whether we know it or not.
  • When you have pursued God in repentant helplessness, you will have worshipped.  And every time you sense his embrace, your soul will shine the slightest bit brighter with his reflected glory, and you will be the slightest bit more ready to face what life has in store for you.
  • Jesus Christ came not to be served but to die, to give his life.  That sets him apart from the founder of every other major religion.  Their purpose was to live and be an example; Jesus’s purpose was to die and be a sacrifice.
  • God created the world in an instant, and it was a beautiful process.  He re-created the world on the cross—and it was a horrible process.  That’s how it works.  Love that really changes things and redeems things is always a substitutionary sacrifice.
  • All real, life changing love is costly, substitutionary sacrifice.
  • On the cross, Jesus is getting what we deserve so we can get what he deserves.
  • The resurrection was God’s way of stamping PAID IN FULL right across history so that nobody could miss it.
  • The truth of the resurrection is of supreme and eternal importance.  It is the hinge upon which the story of the world pivots.
  • “Death has been swallowed up in victory…Thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through Jesus Christ” 1 Corinthians 15:54, 57

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