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Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter Paperback – January 6, 2009

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Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus by James Martin
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Best-selling author Father James Martin offers a series of meditations on the seven sayings Jesus made from the cross. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at conferences around the country. She and her husband, David, are the co-hosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 8,500 churches nationwide and they also host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is the author of numerous books including Holding on to HopeHearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, and the five-book Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series.

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

TIMOTHY KELLER is founder and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. He is the best-selling author of The Prodigal God and The Reason for God

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703–1758) was a pastor, theologian, and missionary. He is generally considered the greatest American theologian. A prolific writer, Edwards is known for his many sermons, including "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", and his classic Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. Edwards was appointed president of the College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University) shortly before his death. 

Known as the "theologian's theologian," JOHN OWEN (1616–1683) was vice chancellor of Oxford University and served as advisor and chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. Among the most learned and active of the Puritans in seventeenth-century Europe, he was an erudite and accomplished theologian both in doctrine and practical theology.

STEPHEN F. OLFORD is both founder of and senior lecturer at the Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching in Memphis, Tennessee. Formerly the minister of New York City's famed Calvary Baptist Church, he has authored numerous books and is a regular contributor to leading Christian periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic.

Skip Ryan is Senior Minister of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas and has served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. Skip is also an instructor for the Japanese Institute for Church Growth in Tokyo. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Westminster Theological Seminary.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483–1546) was professor of Bible at Wittenberg University, and this exposition of Galatians came out of his classroom. Undoubtedly the most powerful discussion of justification by faith prepared by any of the Reformers, this commentary on Galatians has had a profound impact on many through the centuries, including both John and Charles Wesley. 

The late Adrian Rogers was the pastor of the 27,000-member Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. He served three times as President of the Southern Baptist Convention and wrote many books. He also reached many people through his television and radio ministry, “Love Worth Finding.”

Philip Graham Ryken (PhD, University of Oxford) is the 8th president of Wheaton College and, prior to that, served as senior minister at Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited over 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and taught at universities and seminaries worldwide. Dr. Ryken and his wife, Lisa, live in Wheaton and have five children.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), minister of Westminster Chapel in London for 30 years, was one of the foremost preachers of his day. His many books have brought profound spiritual encouragement to millions around the world.

J. Ligon Duncan is Chancellor and John E. Richards professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He is also Senior Minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Mississippi, Chairman of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America.

C. J. Mahaney is the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. He has written, edited and contributed to numerous books, including Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology; Don't Waste Your Sports; and Sex, Romance and the Glory of God. C. J. and his wife, Carolyn, are the parents of three married daughters and one son, and the happy grandparents to twelve grandchildren.

CHARLES H. SPURGEON (1834–1892) was an English Baptist pastor at New Park Street Chapel, London (which later became the Metropolitan Tabernacle), for thirty-eight years. As the nineteenth century's most prolific preacher and writer, his ministry legacy continues today. 

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.


JOHN CALVIN (1509–1564) was perhaps the preeminent theologian of the Reformation. Known best for his Institutes of the Christian Religion, he also wrote landmark expositions on most of the books in the Bible. 


Alistair Begg served two churches in his native Scotland before answering the call in 1983 to become senior pastor at Parkside Church in suburban Cleveland, OH. A graduate of the London School of Theology, he has written several books and is heard daily on the national radio program Truth For Life.

John MacArthur has served as the pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, since 1969. He is known for his verse-by-verse expository preaching, and his pulpit ministry has extended around the world via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of The Master’s College and Seminary, a four-year liberal arts Christian college. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. is the pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of several books, including the Preaching the Word commentary on Isaiah, as well as a contributor to the ESV Study Bible. He and his wife Jan have four children.

Recognized internationally for his work in Christianity and culture, Francis A. Schaeffer authored more than twenty books, which have been translated into a score of languages and sold millions worldwide. He and his wife, Edith, founded L'Abri Fellowship international study and discipleship centers. Schaeffer passed away in 1984, but his influence and legacy continue worldwide.

J. C. RYLE (1816–1900) was a prominent writer, preacher, and Anglican clergyman in nineteenth-century Britain. He is the author of the classic Expository Thoughts on the Gospels and retired as the bishop of Liverpool.

JAMES MONTGOMERY BOICE was senior minister of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for thirty years and a leading spokesman for the Reformed faith until his death in June 2000.

R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries. He has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, has written over seventy books, and is featured daily on Renewing Your Mind, an international radio broadcast.

R. Kent Hughes (DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is senior pastor emeritus of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois and a visiting professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hughes is also a founder of the Charles Simeon Trust, which conducts expository preaching conferences throughout North America and worldwide. He and his wife, Barbara, have four children and an ever-increasing number of grandchildren.

Joni Eareckson Tada is founder and CEO of the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, which ministers to thousands of disabled people and their families through programs of practical encouragement and spiritual help. She is also an artist and the author of numerous best-selling books such as Joni; Heaven: Your Real Home; and When God Weeps.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433501813
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433501814
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book comes out well before Easter to make sure that you are able to buy it, study it and then teach its truths to others as Easter comes about. The book is laid out to have 25 short teachings and thoughts on the cross of Christ. It has most theologians that you can think of in the Reformed and Calvinistic circles and then also includes at least one I know that wasn't a Calvinist (Adrian Rogers). Most of the chapters are about 3 to 4 pages which include many different angles to look at the cross. The topics range from Christ's humility in Gethsemane, silence among his accusers, our sin putting him on the cross, propitiation, forsaken by God, etc. I am not going to list every theologian and every topic, but I will say that this book is a very good one to help someone as they study further on the cross of Christ. This book is a book of quotable thoughts for any pastor.

Some of my favorites were Martin Luther, C.J. Mahaney, Tim Keller, Adrian Rogers and Augustine. Martin Luther is first up in the book, and in my opinion, it didn't get any better than Luther. I really enjoyed his chapter and found myself continually reading because of his start of the understanding of the "True Contemplation of the Cross." Here is an excerpt from Luther's chapter:

Take this to heart and doubt not that you are the one who killed Christ. Your sins certainly did, and when you see the nails driven through his hands, be sure that you are pounding, and when the thorns pierce his brow, know that they are your evil thoughts. Consider that if one thorn pierced Christ you deserve one hundred thousand.

The whole value of the meditation of the suffering of Christ lies in this, that man should come to the knowledge of himself and sink and tremble.
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Format: Paperback
As we approach Easter, Christians everywhere remember Christ's sufferings on the old, rugged cross and the triumph of his resurrection. Indeed, the symbol of the cross is one of the few near universal Christian symbols. Protestants, Catholics and those who view themselves as neither, still cling to the cross. The gospel depends on it, Jesus' earthly life is shaped by it, the Four Gospels almost speak of nothing else. Salvation depends on it, and sanctification is fed by it. And with Paul, we all should seek to boast in nothing but the cross or our Lord Jesus Christ.

For this reason I was thrilled at the opportunity to review a book like Nancy Guthrie's "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter" (Crossway). I assumed it would be a good read since it is a compilation of several prominent church leaders, contemporary (Tim Keller, John Piper, Ligon Duncan, Phil Ryken and John MacArthur) and from years past (Augustine, Luther, Calvin, J.C. Ryle and Charles Spurgeon). Yet, the book excelled far beyond my expectations, high though they were.

Nancy Guthrie did a phenomenal editing job in piecing together various meditations on the Cross into a wonderfully unified book. And the selections she chose were truly the best of the best that these authors had to offer. Finding each of these was an amazing accomplishment in its own right.

Here's a small sampling of the topics covered in this small volume. Martin Luther challenges us to find a proper view of self in light of the Cross. Alistair Begg ponders the innocent Christ being crushed by God. C.J. Mahaney unpacks the weightiness of the cup that Jesus chose to drink completely for us. R.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross. It is a book to be savored, as it contains 25 short articles on many of the aspects of the Passion week written by some of the great pastor-theologians of the past and present. The luminous names like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards and Spurgeon are here and their contributions are powerful. But equally powerful are some of the modern figures like Kent Hughes on Gethsemane and Tim Keller on the resurrection. Especially touching is the essay from Joni Eareckson Tada on Sharing His Sufferings. This book would be especially moving if read during Holy Week. One could read Matthew 26-28 on Palm Sunday, then read Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross as follows: chapter 1 on Monday, chapter 2 on Tuesday and chapter 3 on Wednesday, followed by chapters 4-8 on Maundy Thursday, chapters 9-17 on Good Friday, chapters 18-20 on Saturday and chapters 21-25 on Easter Sunday. Reading in this way would track the content of the book as it correlates with the events of Holy Week.

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross is a resource I expect to return to again and again.
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I know that Lent is not kept by most evangelicals, and that's okay. There's no Scripture passage forbidding it or advocating it, so whether one decides to prepare for Easter in this manner is left to one's conscience.

This season serves as a time of reflection upon the sufferings of Christ. It is a season of repentance, a time of dying to self that anticipates new life on the other side, just like the last days of winter anticipate the arrival of Spring.

During Lent, I try to temper my voracious appetite for reading by adding several devotional works to my reading schedule.

I am glad to see that Crossway has published several solid collections of devotional material in recent years. One of the recent publications, Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter, is edited by Nancy Guthrie and contains 25 sermon or book excerpts about the suffering and exaltation of Jesus Christ.

Guthrie's collection features recent writings from pastors and authors like Adrian Rogers, Joni Eareckson Tada, John Piper, and Tim Keller. But it also features several "classic" sermon excerpts from the past: Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, and Jonathan Edwards.

I am looking forward to finishing this fine collection of meditations during Lent this year. So let me encourage you - whether or not you "give up something" - at least use these few weeks to prepare for Easter, giving thought to the price paid for your ransom and the extraordinary love of God manifested on Calvary. May Jesus keep you near his cross!
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