Tim Keller on Jesus’ Death as an Act of Friendship

Are there times when God feels distant?  Times when you cry out for him to solve a problem or just a question and he appears silent?

Maybe your attempts to grow closer to him are met with— nothing.

Tim Keller has some suggestions if you are in that place and they are appropriate for this Easter season.

In this video Keller says to enhance your friendship with God, meditate on Jesus’ death on the cross and specifically consider it as the ultimate act of friendship.

Derek Kidner wrote several Bible commentaries, those on the Psalms and Proverbs are Keller’s favorites. In them, Kidner defines friendship, from a biblical perspective, as candor and constancy.  

Candor refers to vulnerability and transparency.  Constancy means commitment.  Keller paraphrased friendship this way, ‘Friends always let you in and never let you down. Friends always have time for you but don’t let you down.”

Keller says that definition is illustrated by Jesus’ death on the cross.

When Keller was younger he took boxing classes and one of the lessons he remembers is “never put your hands at your side.” Without your hands up close to your face you can’t protect yourself from a punch.  You are vulnerable to your opponent.

Keller tells us to look at Jesus on the cross.  His hands were not just out to the side, they were nailed there. “How much more vulnerable could he be?” asks Keller.  “He let you all the way in but he didn’t let you down.”

Even though Jesus “had all of Hell coming down on him….he said ‘not my will by thine be done.’”

Keller also recalled Charles Spurgeon’s description of Jesus on the cross in terms of his expression of friendship, “Jesus Christ looked down from the cross and saw all the people denying him and betraying him and forsaking him and mocking him and rejecting him and in the greatest act of friendship in the history of the world, he stayed.”

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Bob Ditmer
Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.