Monday, August 25, 2014

A Must-Read for Every Man and Ministry to Men

Christ lived fundamentally as a man empowered by the Spirit…

Over my years of ministry I’ve read and reviewed hundreds of books by men for men about manhood and masculinity. Most are out of the same cut of cloth – good advice for better living, spiritual technologies to work harder, being better and so on. The only authoritative, accurate book by men and for men, however, is the Bible. From start to finish it is God’s self-revelation and the story of why and how He sends Good News into our helpless, hopeless estate. My secondary go-to source for ministering to men is great theological works. One such new edition is The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ by Dr. Bruce Ware. Ware gives us a profound insight and appreciation for the significance and reality of the much ignored and misunderstood doctrine of the humanity of Christ. In it he tackles some thought-provoking questions about Christ’s identity and he offers a robust defense of the masculinity of the God-man Jesus Christ.

In view of the heightening confusion over gender roles, even in churches, Ware presents a strong, cumulative case that Jesus lived his life fundamentally as a man, empowered by the Holy Spirit with the power, grace, and wisdom he needed, moment by moment and day by day, to fulfill his Father’s mission. When we realize that Jesus was truly a man just as we are, his sinless life seems all the more incredible. But Jesus’ obedience and miracles were not performed by Christ “tapping in” to His divine power, but rather through his being empowered by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 10:38, Isaiah 11:1-4). Ware gives us twelve solid reasons why Jesus was human, why the Savior had to be male and why the sacrifice for sin we need had to be both God and man.

Ware helps us to see that Jesus lived his life as one of us — as a full and complete human — who carried out his obedience with the same resources now given to us. Jesus knew and relied on the Word of God, prayer and, very importantly, the Holy Spirit who indwelt him. If Jesus lived his life as a man, in the power of the Spirit, believing the Word and praying to the Father — these are all things that we, too, have as Christian men. Therefore, it is right to call us to “follow in his steps,” and we can rightly look at Jesus as an example for how we should live in light of the gospel:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11  

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