Book Review: The Man Christ Jesus by Bruce Ware
Ware discloses his motivation in writing this book is that he senses evangelicals have a better understanding of Christ’s deity than they do His humanity. I think he is right. Ware argues the nature of the kenosis (self-emptying) of the eternal Son, as described in Philippians 2: 5-8, means that Christ emptied Himself by taking on humanity. In so doing, “Christ lived his life fundamentally (not exclusively) out of his human nature...” How could this be? How could Christ, in His human nature, possess such a knowledge of the Word, endure immense temptations, do miracles, and live a sinless life? He does all that His Father commands Him by relying wholly on the anointing of the Spirit and the Spirit’s work in and through Him.
When it comes to considering the natures of Christ, I would guess the majority of evangelicals think in two dimensions. This book helps the reader to take on a three dimensional Christology; one that begins to contemplate Christ’s humanity and His deity simultaneously. Such an understanding can help work through questions like, how is it that in His divine nature Jesus is omniscient, but in His human nature He is said to have grown in wisdom (Luke 2:52)? To this, Ware posits, “[A]lthough he came as one who was both fully God and fully man, he also lived his life as one indwelt with and empowered by the Spirit of God.” This empowering of the Spirit, which the Father poured out on the Son, granted Him insight and increased understanding of God’s Word as He grew.
Ware’s intention in writing this book is not simply theology for the sake of theology. To divorce theology from spirituality is to take a brain out of the body. The brain is made to think, the body to carry out the actions dictated by the brain. For this reason I am especially grateful that Ware includes an application section at the end of every chapter. Additionally, each chapter also contains five discussion questions, making this book conducive for Sunday school or small group settings.
We cannot say, “God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear. Therefore, we will experience little to no suffering in this lifetime.” Look at Jesus, God did not allow Him to be tempted more than He could bear, yet He died on a cross for our sins. If you thought, “Yeah, but He was God,” then this book is for you!