Posts Tagged ‘Tim Keller’

Garden of Gethsemane

April 2, 2015

During tonight’s Maundy Thursday service, after our youth performed their drama about the Last Supper, I referred to Jesus’ prayer, shortly after supper, in the Garden of Gethsemane. There he asked his Father to “take this cup away,” meaning the cup of God’s wrath that would otherwise be poured out on us humans in final judgment.

kellerObviously, the Father said “no” to Jesus’ request. In his new book on prayer, pastor Tim Keller invites us to think about Jesus’ unanswered prayer.

Sinners deserve to have their prayers go unanswered. Jesus was the only human being in history who deserved to have all his prayers answered because of his perfect life. Yet he was turned down as if he cherished iniquity in his heart [Psalm 66:18]. Why?

The answer, of course, is in the gospel. God treated Jesus as we deserve-he took our penalty-so that, when we believe in him, God can then treat us as Jesus deserved (2 Cor 5:21). More specifically, Jesus’ prayers were given the rejection that we sinners merit so that our prayers could have the reception that he merits.[†]

As I said last night, the Father said “no” to his Son so that he could later say “yes” to those of us who believe in his Son. Even in the midst of the gloom and sadness of these dark days leading up to Easter Sunday, this is very good news for us!

The short movie above is from my trip to the Holy Land in 2011. The pictures and video are from the Garden of Gethsemane.

Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (New York: Dutton, 2014), 237-8.

The Lord’s Prayer and the “deadly peril of familiarity”

January 16, 2015

kellerPastor and author Tim Keller reminds us how easy it is to take for granted the greatest single resource for spirituality that we possess! His train analogy fits perfectly, as anyone who’s spent time at Hampton United Methodist Church (which sits a few dozen yards from the train tracks) can attest. I remember being startled when it passed by on my first Sunday at the church. It feels like an earthquake. Now I don’t notice it.

Imagine you are, for the first time, visiting someone who has a home or an apartment near train tracks. You are sitting there in conversation, when suddenly the train comes roaring by, just a few feet from where you are sitting, and you jump to your feet in alarm. “What’s that?” you cry. Your friend, the resident of the house, responds, “What was what?” You answer, “That sound! I thought something was coming through the wall.” “Oh, that,” she says. “That’s just the train. You know, I guess I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t even notice it anymore.” With wide eyes you say, “I don’t see how that is possible.” But it is.

It is the same with the Lord’s Prayer. The whole world is starving for spiritual experience, and Jesus gives us the means to it in a few words. Jesus is saying, as it were, “Wouldn’t you like to be able to come face-to-face with the Father and king of the universe every day, to pour out your heart to him, and to sense him listening to and loving you?” We say, of course, yes.

Jesus responds, “It’s all in the Lord’s Prayer,” and we say, “In the what?” It’s so familiar we can no longer hear it. Yet everything we need is within it. How do we overcome the deadly peril of familiarity?[†]

Timothy Keller, Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (New York: Dutton, 2014), 109.