Sunday, April 19, 2009

Keller on substitutionary love at the LMC

I was at the London Men's Convention yesterday, my second time, but first as a mere conference-goer. I really enjoyed my first time two years ago, where I served as a steward at the Royal Albert Hall. So upon seeing the theme this year was basically "Jesus" (what can be more crucial than that?), and that the main speakers included Tim Keller and Mike Cain (author of this winsome book), I was ready to make another trip! And of course, getting to use it to spend a day with the brother is great too. :)

Thank God for Tim Keller and the gifts he's given him. The danger for many evangelicals, of course, is that we have our own celebrity culture, where we put too many individuals on a pedestal. So, deep breath, remind myself: Tim Keller is a sinner saved by the grace of God. Tim Keller needs a Saviour, and he is dependent on the Holy Spirit. With that in mind...anyone who has followed this blog long enough will know that I'm a bit of a fan, and his talks yesterday, on the cross and resurrection respectively, were just superb. He's a no-frills preacher, laidback, no gimmicks, faithful. But he is so insightful, both in his reading of the biblical text, and of the world we live in. When he preaches, he makes truth fresh, obvious, and it gets at your heart.

I was going to blog my notes from the first talk here, but sadly, I left my notes at a friend's place, so I don't have them at hand. But hurray, a quick search turned up someone else's (well-written) blogged notes! Like me, and I suspect, just about everyone in the hall, it was Keller's point on love as substitution which he found most arresting. So I'm just going to point you to his notes.

A preview:
Keller identifies three substitutionary motifs in John’s account of the death of Jesus:
  • Jesus as the Passover Lamb: shown by the specific reference to "hyssop" in v.29 (see Exodus 12:22) and the fact that Jesus’ bones remain unbroken.
  • Jesus as the Rock: Dr Keller linked John’s description of "blood and water" pouring from Jesus’ pierced side to Paul’s puzzling statement in 1 Corinthians 10:4: "the rock was Christ". Paul is referring to the incident in Exodus 17, where the Israelites "quarrelled and tested the Lord" in the desert. Instead of Moses’ rod (a symbol of judgment and authority) striking the Israelites for their disobedience, it came down on the rock, which thus produced the water the people needed. In the same way, God’s judgment against sin struck Jesus rather than us.
  • Jesus as the Ransom: his cry of "It is finished!" has connotations of "The debt is paid!"
Read the rest here and here.

In response, what can we say but thank you so much, Lord Jesus, please help me to live for you in light of what you've done?

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Blogger Tremonti said...

I have to say that the second point of the three note preview that you posted is an interesting one. Jesus as rock and the way it was explained is one i have never thought or heard of before. I'm a Keller 'fan' as well by the way too.

2:05 am  
Blogger BK said...

Yes, I don't think I've heard anyone make that connection before either. But it certainly is a plausible reading - another unearthed gem from the already rich passage of John 19.

10:15 pm  

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