Review: The Two Advocates, The Great Enemy, & The Wedding Party by Timothy Keller

5 out of 5 Stars
Author: Timothy Keller
Publisher: Dutton
Buy The Two Advocates,
The Great Enemy, or The Wedding Party
Reading Level: Leisure

I decided to review these three books together because they are so compact. They are part of the second set of the series.  through five examine five lives of everyday people who had their world rocked by Jesus Christ. In five through ten, Keller examines five events from the life of Jesus specifically looking to answer, “How can we encounter Jesus today?” I’ll start with The Two Advocates.

Keller examines John 14 and Jesus’s high priestly prayer. He hones in on the promise of the Holy Spirit in particular. He looks at our natural understanding of a bar of justice and our need for an advocate. He shows how Jesus advocates for us and how the Holy Spirit complements in this role at Pentecost. He demonstrates how a God who is a good example and supporter isn’t enough. “Those things would be helpful, but on their own they would fall short of what we need. If that bar of justice exists--and our consciences bear witness to the fact that it does--then we need a true Advocate” (Kindle Location 148 of 610).

He also contrasts nicely the work of the first Advocate from the second. Jesus, he argues, advocates for you to the Father (think Romans 8), whereas the Spirit advocates from God to us. He is testifying to the truths that Jesus proclaims above in the throneroom of grace (186 of 610).

Keller explores the depths of the trinity in a truly approachable fashion. He writes with urgency for our Christian life. These are truths we need to thrive as sons and daughters of God.

If you plan on purchasing The Two Advocates, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.

5 out of 5 Stars

In The Great Enemy, Keller explores Matthew 3 (Jesus’s baptism) and 4 (His temptation). He revels in the delight of the Father in Jesus in his baptism and, therefore, his delight in us as his sons and daughters. This truth seems hard to believe when we experience pain, suffering, or sin.

Keller argues from Matthew 4 that Satan frequently attacks our status as sons and daughters of God. He whispers doubtful words about God’s delight in us. “For those of us who know in principle that we are adopted, loved sons and daughters, Satan wants us to slide back into a self-image based on our moral performance, our goodness and effort” (186 of 618). 

He also points out how Jesus defeats these lies when Satan attacks him--with Scripture. He does this for our benefit because he could have defeated Satan with a single word. 

Extremely practical. Robustly Christ-centered. Entrenched in the Scriptures.

If you plan on purchasing The Great Enemy, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.

5 out of 5 Stars

I’ve enjoyed all of The Encounter with Jesus series, but this may have been my favorite because of the rich exposition of John 2. I’ve never heard this passage expounded in this way and connected to the gospel so directly.

Keller first points out Jesus makes himself the Master of the party. He brings joy and life to something on the edge of disaster. He says,

“‘Yes,’ he is saying, ‘I’m going to suffer. Yes, there’s going to be self-denial. Yes, there’s going to be sacrifice--for me first and then for my followers as well. But it’s all a means to an end, which is festival joy! It’s all in order to bring about resurrection and the new heavens and new earth. The end of all evil and death and tears. You know all those Dionysian legends about the forest running with wine, dancing, and music? That’s nothing compared to the eternal feast that is coming at the end of history’”  (68 of 646).

This connectedness with the overall mission of Jesus saturates the wedding feast sign. It’s a rich picture that refracts the gospel story in dozen ways. I don’t want to give too much more away. It’s a short read, and I could give three or four more paragraph quotations with rich gospel pictures.

Instead of doing that, go ahead and pick up The Wedding Feast and enjoy Keller’s deft gospel-centered exposition.

If you plan on purchasing The Wedding Party, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these books free from Dutton. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”