Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross is an anthology edited by Nancy Guthrie that consists of 25 excerpts of studies and sermons by “theologians and leading contemporary communicators” on the Passion of Christ through the Resurrection. At 148 pages, each chapter is approximately six pages. Different Bible versions are referenced in the passages and each original source is noted at the end of each chapter for further study.
The first few chapters contain theologically heavy material. It starts, for example, with “True Contemplation of the Cross” by Martin Luther. (Later chapters are easier to understand.) Reading this first excerpt may discourage someone from reading further, but if a person is searching for in-depth insight on this subject as presented in short segments, then this book is worthwhile. Admittedly, some opinions or biblical interpretations may differ from what a person has been taught previously or studied personally.
Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross is organized by events of the passion through the resurrection, but each chapter can be separated and studied on its own. Each essay starts with its own Scripture quote. Each author has a little bit different focus or perspective on the same subject, as each takes Scripture and interprets it within context. I like that it is convenient to read one short essay in one session and that it has several blank pages at the end for note taking.
This is a book to be re-read and pondered. It invites interaction. It is a reference book that would lend itself to a Bible study group. As I read it, it felt like it was a spiritual workout, focusing on different aspects of the events, showcasing some and ignoring others, and discussing/interpreting different Scripture passage accounts. Each chapter challenges the reader’s beliefs, depending on one’s religious background.
I have to be honest – I initially did not want to read this book. I thought it would be dry with a lot of heavy analysis. And, yes, some of it is; however, taken as a whole, it is a good book to have on hand for reflection.
I would recommend this book for people in study groups and for individual’s who enjoy contemplation and research. It would make any season better, but is especially appropriate during the Easter season when we tend to devote more time to grow in God’s understanding of this historical time. I would read it early on to allow time for contemplating and study/discussion. This is an excellent, thought-provoking collection. – Wanda Sobota, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
This collection of readings, drawn from the writings and sermons of 25 classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers, focuses on the wonder of Christ’s sacrifice.
In a culture where crosses have become little more than decorative accessories and jewelry, how easy it is for even the most well-intended Christian to rush from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday without thoughtfully contemplating the cross and all that it means. Yet we miss out on spiritual riches when we do.
So that we all may linger at the cross during the Lenten season—and stay near it the whole year through—editor Nancy Guthrie has compiled this special anthology. It draws from the works and sermons of classic theologians such as Luther, Edwards, Spurgeon, Ryle, and Augustine, and from leading contemporary communicators such as John Piper, R. C. Sproul, Francis Schaeffer, John MacArthur, Skip Ryan, and Joni Eareckson Tada to help readers enter into an experience of Christ’s passion and anchor their hope in the power of his resurrection.
Each essay in this collection holds to a high view of Scripture and expounds on a particular aspect of the Easter story using the appropriate Scripture passage from the ESV Bible. These readings are sure to prepare people’s hearts for a fresh experience of the cross each and every Easter season.