“I am ready to see Jesus” – The powerful last words of Tim Keller

Pastor, Theologian and Apologist Timothy Keller passed away on Friday 19th May after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 72.

The news was shared on his tweeter account by his son Michael Keller. It read:

“Timothy J. Keller, husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend, pastor, and scholar died this morning at home. Dad waited until he was alone with Mom. She kissed him on the forehead and he breathed his last breath. We take comfort in some of his last words, “There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest.” See you soon Dad.”

Keller had been in and out of the hospital in recent days before entering hospice Thursday. Michael Keller said his father had prayed during his final hours, “I’m thankful for all the people who’ve prayed for me over the years. I’m thankful for my family, that loves me. I’m thankful for the time God has given me, but I’m ready to see Jesus. I can’t wait to see Jesus. Send me home.”

Redeemer City to City

Tim Keller was the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 along with his wife, Kathy. He led a diverse congregation of young professionals that has grown to a weekly attendance of over 5,000.

Tim is also Chairman of Redeemer City to City, which starts new churches in New York and other global cities, and publishes books and resources for faith in an urban culture. Tim’s books, including the New York Times bestselling The Reason for God and The Prodigal God, have sold over 1 million copies and been translated into 15 languages.

Just four months ago, he appeared on Premier’s Unbelievable podcast, telling them the diagnosis had drawn him closer to God.

“My wife and I would never want to go to the kind of prayer life and spiritual life we had before the cancer,” he said.

“Everyone knows they’re going to die,” Keller added. People, though, “suppress that” knowledge and “live as if they’re never going to die.”

Pancreatic cancer had few treatments, his doctor had told him. “You’re going to die of this, sooner or later, because we don’t have a cure for it.”

“The way you look at God, the way you look at your spouse, the way you look at everything just changes when you actually realize time is limited and I’m mortal,” he told Unbelievable.

Sharing the gospel on social media

Although battling cancer, Keller proclaimed the gospel on social media until the final weeks before his death.

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead,” Keller tweeted in April.

Tim was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He previously served as the pastor of West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and Director of Mercy Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America. Tim and his wife, Kathy, have three grown sons.


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