Nancy Guthrie. Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, August 1st, 2008. 152 pp.
5 out of 5
I’m typically not a fan of devotional books but after being impressed with the editor’s previous book titled Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas I actually looked forward to reading this book. The editor Nancy Guthrie did an excellent job compiling great writings for Christian meditations concerning Christ’s death and the cross.
The book has twenty five chapters from Christians both past and present. Most of the writings are from preachers although we also see Joni Eareckson Tada making a contribution. These chapters are short enough that makes them ideal for reading aloud together with one’s spouse or family which I did with my wife. Yet what my wife and I appreciated is that each chapter typically packs a lot of meat of Scripture rather than milk which is often the case with Christian devotionals. Since it is both “meaty” and devotional I found myself learning new insight into Christ and His work to save sinners while also being moved to love the Lord more as a result of these new knowledge. This is my ideal for a devotional and this book satisfies it!
What follows are some of the highlights from my reading of the book:
- R. Kent Hughes’ contribution is chapter five in the book. Hughes makes the observation of similarities and contrasts between Christ at the garden of Gethsemane and Adam in the garden of Eden. For instance Adam’s life began in the Garden whereas Christ’s life was heading to an end at the Garden. Adam sinned Eden while Christ overcame sin at Gethsemane. Adam fell to evil in Eden but Christ rose against evil at Gethsemane. Adam hid in the Garden whereas Christ presented Himself. At Eden we see the sword drawn whereas at Gethesemane the sword was sheathed. What an amazing typology!
- I also appreciated Ligon Duncan’s chapter in the book especially with his insight of the irony that the group of armed men came with torches and lanterns at night to catch the Light of the World. These armed men came with swords and clubs to oppose the Prince of Peace. What irony. What contrasts!
- From Joseph “Skip” Ryan’s chapter I learned that Jesus being thirsty in John 19:28 fulfilled the Old Testament Scripture in Psalm 22:15 and Psalm 69:21; I never was aware of Psalm 69:21 before. This chapter was also sobering as Ryan points out how hell is described as a thirsty place in Luke 16:24. What a sobering thought to think one is never satisfied in hell.
Overall I recommend this book!