Review: The Man Christ Jesus - Bruce A Ware
I’ll be real with you: the majority of the Christian books that I’ve ‘read’ get put back on the shelf before I’ve finished them. Most of them are cracking books, but I often find myself really invested in a book, only for the busyness of life to interrupt. Perhaps some of you can relate to that. It’s a bad habit, but it means that if I get round to finishing a book, chances are, I loved it. So here’s my review of one of the books I actually finished recently - ‘The Man Christ Jesus’ by Bruce A. Ware.
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“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”- 1 Timothy 2:5.
The Apostle Paul informs us here that our mediator, our access, to the throne of God comes through Jesus. But he deliberately highlights that it is “the man Christ Jesus”. In other words, your relationship to God is built upon the humanity of Christ (among other things), who “gave himself as a ransom for all people” (verse 6).
And yet, I think it is fair to say that for many of us the humanity of Jesus has very little impact on our ‘communion’, our daily relationship, with God. The kids in our church family might belt out the lyrics to ‘Fully God, Fully Man’, but the dual humanity and divinity of Jesus is something that we just don’t get.
This book is a fantastic way to start to ‘get’ these things. To start to think about why the ‘Fully God’ had to become ‘Fully Man’.
This isn’t just fun theology – it deeply changes how we think about, relate to, follow, and walk with Jesus. Bruce Ware helps us understand the humanity of Christ, and how that truth impacts us profoundly.
1 Peter 2:21-23 says that Jesus left us an example, and we are to follow in His steps. But if we only ever think of Jesus in His divinity and ignore His humanity, Jesus’ example, and the motivation and power to follow it, will seem impossible. This book is a great start to getting the balance right between Jesus' total humanity and His total divinity.
The book is relatively short (for something that covers some big topics), and has 8 chapters of a ‘readable’ length. What is really helpful is that each chapter finishes with application and some discussion questions to help you engage with truths a bit more.
Ware asks some big questions that maybe you’ve wrestled with before (or maybe you haven’t, either way, it’s worth thinking about the answers). Questions such as:
1) If Jesus was perfectly obedient because he was perfectly God, then in what sense can humans be called to live like him?;
2) How do we make sense of Jesus increasing in wisdom and learning obedience?;
3) If Jesus is impeccable since he’s divine, is that how he resisted temptation?;
4) Is there any theological significance to the fact that Jesus came and lived as a man and not a woman?
The way Ware approaches these questions is enriched with Scripture, and the answers to them will transform how you read of Jesus and seek to follow Him.
I thoroughly, thoroughly recommend this book to you.
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“What an amazing truth – the eternal Son of the Father left the glories of heaven and took on our human nature for one ultimate, pervasive, and central purpose: to bear the sin we have committed and to die the death that we deserve, because he knew that only in this way would we be saved. Marvel at this love. Marvel at this sacrifice. And worship the God become man” - Bruce A. Ware, The Man Christ Jesus.
by Dougal Burrowes