Have you ever experienced “The Mysterium Tremendum?”

When I was a young wife, my sister spent a week with me, following me around with her Bible, telling me who Jesus is, why I should be afraid, and why I should give Him my whole life. She was making me nervous and I wanted her to go home, but a blizzard came and we were snowbound together. She saw it as God’s opportunity and kept following me, reading Scripture to me. Scripture upon Scripture with Jesus claiming to be God. A sense of my need was growing. My sin. Sally told me my sins were as scarlet. But then she pointed to the new fallen snow outside our window and told me He could make me as white as snow.

Sally was a new Christian, yet God gave her some of the same passages that you will hear in the free Keller sermon this week. Jesus was claiming Deity.

I asked her, “If this is true…if He is God…would He ask me to give up the house Steve and I are planning to build?”

She hesitated a long time. (She told me later she was crying out to God for how she should answer me.) Then she said, “I think, in your case, yes.” (Oh my! Even then God knew my idolatrous heart and zeroed in on what was most important to me!) I am very thankful for my bold and caring sister. (Sally is the mother of our new blogger, Anne Meredith.)

When Sally left I had been “awakened.” I was hesitant to give up our house…unless, this was all true. Was it true?

Sally left me two prayerfully chosen books.

A copy of Phillip’s New Testament

(so I wouldn’t start in Genesis) and

C. S. Lewis’s classic: “Mere Christianity.”

I read them both. Fear grew in my heart.


A month later, on a November day in 1966, the fear of the Lord brought me to my knees. As I began to pray, I suddenly realized how sinful I was and how holy He was. The Mysterium Tremendum. Truly, there was a flash of fear so great I was overcome. But then it was gone and I felt, like Karla Faye Tucker has described, “wrapped in His love.” As John Newton said, “It was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.”

I haven’t experienced anything like that since, but I have felt tremors. Sometimes when I am speaking a sense of His holiness comes over me. A holy fear to speak not for the approval of man but for Him.

So often I need those tremors because of my depravity.

I remember clearly my first Christian booksellers convention. These mega-events, held in arenas, can have a bit of a carnival feel — though there are good things like holy Bibles and strong books on display, there are a multitude of booths with offensive bumper stickers and praying bears. As Chris said last week:Sometimes I am troubled by the use of cheesy Jesus’ images like ones on bumper stickers or some pictures that one might see in an email or on the internet. I think we have a tendency to shrink God down to where we feel comfortable with Him.”

Steve and two of our daughters were with me, and Sally and Annie were excited to meet so many celebrities.  I was pleased to have radio broadcasters interested in me. It’s an atmosphere as conducive to pride as moisture is to mold.

At the Sunday service, thousands were listening to Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and a whole string of well known people. Looking back, for many of us, our focus was on them, rather than on God.

We have such a tendency to lose perspective, to forget how holy, holy, holy He is.

When it was time for the message, a short unassuming man came out. I looked at my bulletin and saw the title of the sermon:

“The Depravity of Man and The Holiness of God.”

The preacher was R. C. Sproul, and he was quickened by the Spirit of God. His message was exactly what we needed and the Lord chose to quicken him. There was such a sense of the holy. As if Jesus came into the temple with a whip.









































































Watch this clip of R. C. Sproul from his series: The Holiness of God.


When you realize how holy He is, and how sinful you are, the earth should shake a bit. This is what makes us so grateful, as well, for His grace.

During Lent we are endeavoring to put something off and put something on in its place. No doubt every one of us has failed to live up to the standard we set for ourselves. It would be easy to think that trouble is coming into our lives because of that failure — but that too is wrong theology. He took our punishment — He satisfied the requirement of a holy God. We are called to be holy as He is holy, but He also knows we will fail, and He is faithful and just to cleanse us when we confess our sins. In this powerful passage today, if you could read it in Greek, you would see how He says:





1. Have you ever had a sense of The Mysterium Tremendum? When the fear of God overwhelmed you? If so, share something about it.

2. What stands out to you from the above and why?

3. Report on last week’s Lenten discipline and what you plan to do this week. A fresh week.

Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study



For this third week of Lent, we will again be looking at an episode where Jesus proclaims Himself to be Deity, to be the Great I AM. This phrase, by which Jesus identified Himself repeatedly in John’s Gospel, is the same phrase that God spoke to Moses when He told him that His name was “I AM.” This week I want us to look at the incident that occurred on holy Thursday, the night before Jesus was crucified. Keller’s message, which is free this week, helps us clearly understand the Great I AM and will be a good foundation for coming weeks.

Just before this incident, Jesus had prayed His “high priestly prayer” for the disciples and for “those who would believe because of them.” He knew He was going to die, and His heart was with us, praying for us. Then, though this is not recorded in John’s Gospel, he went to Gethsemane, where He suffered, knowing what He had to face.

3. Read John 18:1-3

A. Describe the band of soldiers that came for Jesus. (Keller says “a band” was at least 200.) Why do you think there were so many? Why were they armed?

B. Meditate and comment on John 18:4.

C. In verse 5, when Jesus says, “I am he,” there is actually no “he.” It is simply “I AM.” Look up the following five references and find how his enemies reacted when He made an “I AM” statement:

John 6:35

John 8:12

John 8:58

John 10:7 and 10:14

4. Read John 18:6-9

A. What happened when Jesus said, “I AM.” Why, do you think?

B. What did Jesus ask them to do in verse 8?

C. Why, according to verse 9?

5.  Read John 18:10-11 and report what happened.

6. What stands out to you from this account and why?

Thursday-Friday: Download this free sermon from Keller (LINK). (Click on the word Link and you will find many free Keller sermons, but we want # 11 “I AM HE”

7. The Greatest Claim

A. What are some claims that Jesus made that no other founder of any religion ever made?

B. Bono was asked if it wasn’t a bit much that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. What was his response?

C. C. S. Lewis has a famous argument in Mere Christianity in which he challenges those who want to believe Jesus is just a great teacher. What was it?



What notes do you have on this section?


What else stood out to you from this sermon and why?








(John 18:8)



What’s your take-a-way? Why?


COMMENTS (312) Post a New Comment ↓

7. The Greatest Claim
A. What are some claims that Jesus made that no other founder of any religion ever made?
“I Am” (without an object) All things and all persons depend on me! Other founders say this ____________ is the truth or the way to the truth. Jesus says I Am the way and the truth and the life. He is who He says He is and that makes Christianity the superior religion.

B. Bono was asked if it wasn’t a bit much that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. What was his response?
No, it is not. Either Christ is who he says he is or he is an entire nutcase like Manson. Too many people have had their life radically changed.

C. C. S. Lewis has a famous argument in Mere Christianity in which he challenges those who want to believe Jesus is just a great teacher. What was it?

What notes do you have on this section?
Everybody loses their footing in His presence. We are undone in His presence. Just a glimpse was enough to knock a detachment flat. We are vulnerable. Getting close to God is traumatic. Our self image is fragile. There will always be people better or prettier or smarter than us and that is traumatic but how much worse it will be when we come before His glory. There will be a judgement day but we don’t have to be afraid we will lose our footing b/c He went to the cross and took our judgement. The judge was judged. Jesus is the solution to the greatest problem.
Knowing this will keep us from losing our footing in this life too when people come against us.


    Good, Kim.


For me the greatest take away from the Keller sermon was the reminder that as I remember what Jesus did for me and as I accept His substitutionary death then I am enabled to not lose my footing even in this earthly life.


6. What did you learn from his first point “Bread for the Mind?” (This is his longest point — he contrasts watertight case with watertight Person)
He first engaged their intellect when he performed miracles. If you believe in God you can’t rule out miracles. Miracles are not primarily proof Christianity is real or of that He has power. The Bible doesn’t give a watertight case but it does give Jesus and He IS watertight. The argument that is proof – Jesus, His life, what He did, who He was. It’s Him not the miracles.

I received an email today from Chris. I had no idea anyone read my post. As I read all of the encouraging comments all I could do was cry. I have found no support in almost 14 months. My existence is that of a person who gets up every morning and pretends to be the person they used to be. In everyone’s eyes I seem ok but no one knows what I go through behind closed doors. The isolation is unbeievable and the cruelty I have been subjected to is beyond words. I cannot pray and I do not know why. The anniversary date of my ex-husband death William Bullard and the man who killed him Richard Dodelin was January 31 and February 1st. The newspaper ran a follow up story that opened up a lot of wounds for people. My wounds were never healed. I do not discuss the way I suffer beause so many people do not believe I was a victim. I am looked upon as the woman who was the common thread between these two men. I had no idea they were talking and texting each other to the extent they were until the police told me. Had I known that Richard was going to bring a gun I would have been at 84 Lumber pleading with him not to hurt William. I know he would have killed me too. He had always told me betrayal was not acceptable to him. He knew I loved William and Richard told me that I owned all of his soul and one day he would own all of mine. I never knew what he meant until he killed William and he is right he owns my soul. He ruined my life. He ruined my daughter’s life. He ruined his children’s lives. How can any one person feel they have a right to make a decision like he made. The night I left Richard’s house the last thing he told me is that he loved me. He had just killed someone that can never be replaced in many peoples lives and he said he loved me. If he loved me he should have killed me. When I was born 41 years ago I was not expected to live. I had a Christian doctor who prayed over every woman before he delivered their baby. He prayed with my mom and during the delivery he said he knew something wrong. The doctor put both his hands inside my mother and untied the cord from neck. I would not have lived had he not done this. I was born with a black and yellow neck from the bruising. Two times my life has been saved and I have no idea why. I feel very selfish for even talking about myself as I know there are many other people hurt by what has happened. The main person is my daughter Bliss. I appreciate everyone’s prayers and hope that one day I can be like all of you and learn to love life, live life and forgive myself for making the horrible decision of getting involved with a man who killed a part of me I can never replace. Please keep praying I will find peace. Some days it is hard to go on.


    Rebekah, We are praying for you. Please feel free to join us… Click on “Bible Study Blog” at the top of the page, and then the paragraph at the top provides the link to the current week. It’s only by God’s grace and His love that I’m alive and functioning. Remember He loves you very, very much. We would love to have you join us on our journey.


    Oh, Rebekah. Welcome, welcome. Your story is so sad. Join us as Elizabeth and Renee suggested, at the next Bible study. I’m so pleased to meet you. You’ll find lots of love here.


    Rebekah, I am so glad to hear from you for we have been praying since you first came on the blog. We would love to be your friends and lift you up in any way that we can.


    I am so glad you have come, God has a purpose for you dear Rebekah, stay with us I pray. Just read the posts if it is to hard to post yourself. We are grateful to God for answering the doctor who delivered you & who led you here. Do stay with us I pray!


    Rebekah, I don’t know why but as I read your posts and all the posts from all my sweet sisters in Christ here, I am brought to tears and have goose bumps all over my arms. I have prayed that you would come back to us many times over the last few weeks and here you are. God is good and He is looking out for you and us. I know he is at work in your life. Blessings :)


    Rebekah — so glad to see you respond. Elizabeth alerted us you were back on this post. You will find love and prayers here.


    Rebekah, Welcome! You will find love and support here! So glad you are here and do hope you will join us! :-)


    Dear Rebekah,
    I am so glad you returned here, I have been praying for you and asking God to please have you come back and look on Dee’s blog. I am seeing God working in your life – your mom telling you that God would bring beauty from ashes; I was wondering if you did some kind of online search about that which led to Dee’s blog. You can be sure that God is pursuing you because He loves you. You may not be able to feel His love for you now, but it doesn’t change the truth that He does love you.
    Praying for you, and I hope you will stay with us.


Praying, Dear Rebekah! HE loves you so much!You have a Bible? The Word will give you refreshing all day. God will speak to your heart more and more. He pour on you the peace that you want, dear.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119.105
We are praying! love to you, dear. Pollyanna


Sweet Rebekah,
You are loved with an everlasting love. And underneath are the everlasting arms.

Isaiah 41:10 comes to mind when I pray for you: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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