Friday, February 1, 2013

The Kings Cross - by Tim Keller

There is never enough space on this blog to capture the fullness of some of the best books that I have read.  That is true now. 

The Kings Cross captures the Gospel story by going page by page through the book of Mark, giving not only the message of salvation - but an example of a life lived that gloried in service, and exalted in self-sacrifice.  Below are some of my favorite nuggets - and I will comment on how they impacted me. 

"...there are two ways to fail to let Jesus be your Savior. One is by being too proud, having a superiority complex—not to accept his challenge. But the other is through an inferiority complex—being so self-absorbed that you say, “I’m just so awful that God couldn’t love me.” That is, not to accept his offer."
Whether you struggle with superiority or inferiority- Jesus extends His offer of salvation to all. 
"There’s something else Mark wants his readers to think about. Isaiah says the Messiah will come to save us “with divine retribution.” But Jesus isn’t smiting people. He’s not taking out his sword. He’s not taking power; he’s giving it away. He’s not taking over the world; he’s serving it. 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....Don’t be too isolated to think you are beyond healing. Don’t be too proud to accept what the gospel says about your unworthiness. Don’t be too despondent to accept what the gospel says about how loved you are."
The idea of the sacrifice of Jesus grows deeper and deeper throughout this book - defining not only our salvation story, but also the way in which we ought to live it out with one another.  Taking pain and rejection onto onself, 'eating' the pain and struggle - so that another might be free and full of joy. 
"But here is Jesus saying, “Yes, I’m the Messiah, the King, but I came not to live but to die. I’m not here to take power but to lose it; I’m here not to rule but to serve. And that’s how I’m going to defeat evil and put everything right.”...Jesus 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 spell of the world’s systems was broken."
Keller repeats this theme in the book:  "All real, life-changing love is substitutionary sacrifice." 
When I hear stories of radical change, radical community-sweeping change: it doesn't revolve around a great preacher or powerful person or a strategic method: It revolves around a person who has been so captured by God, is so in love with Jesus, and so absolutely filled with the Spirit that he/she gives themselves away completely - meaning the loss of self, power, reputation, status, and more.  This is radical, life-changing SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE - that is only sustainable in our lives because Someone Else has done it on our behalf first. 
"Jesus says, 'My power is always moving away from people who love power and money. My power is always moving toward people who are giving it away, as I did. Where do you want to live?'"
The biggest impact of this book on my life was a renewed and deepened determination to submit with every ounce of my being to His glorious redemption in my life.  As one person put it, to be "thoroughly converted."  To open up the areas where pride and selfishness continue to control me, and to invite the Spirit in to 'clean house' and continually change me.
"Submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown.." - C.S. Lewis...quoted by Keller in this book

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