Over this past weekend, I was able to sit down and read Bruce Ware’s latest book The Man Jesus Christ: Theological Reflections on The Humanity of Christ. I’ll post a full review sometime next week maybe, but in the meantime, here’s some food for thought.
In response to a claim by some that Jesus’ male gender had no “christological significance, or significance for salvation” Ware gives12 reasons for why Jesus had to become a man and not a woman (summarized on p. 107 but exposited over the course of chapter 6):
- Jesus Christ’s preincarnate existence and identity is clearly revealed to be that of the eternal Son of the Father
- Jesus came as the second Adam, the man who stands as head over his new and redeemed race
- The Abrahamic covenant requires that the Savior to come, as the promised descendant of Abraham, would be a man
- The Davidic covenant explicitly requires that the one who will reign forever on the throne of David be a Son of David, and hence a man
- The new covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 requires that the Savior to come will actually accomplish the forgiveness of sins, and to do this, the Savior must be a man
- The Savior to come must be a prophet like unto Moses, as predicted by Moses and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and so he must be a man
- Our new and permanent High Priest, whose office is secured as sins are atoned for and full pardon is pleaded on our behalf before the Father, must be a man
- Christ came also as the glorious King of kings, reigning over the nations in splendor and righteousness, and to be this king, he had to be a man
- The incarnate mission and ministry of Jesus required that he come as a man
- Because the risen Christ is now presented to the church not only as her Lord and king but also as her bridegroom, the Savior had to be a man
- Because our Savior came as the “Son of God” it was necessary that he come as a man
- Because our Savior came as the “Son of Man” it was necessary that he come as man
I can see how some would disagree with a few of these, but overall, this is quite the impressive list of reasons Jesus had to be a man. Gender issues are huge these days, and it seems many want to either relativize the Bible’s teaching on gender roles, or as we see with recent responses to the Church of England decision on female bishops, draw illegitimate conclusions from Christ’s resurrection’s relevance to what men and women can and can’t do in the church.
Ware’s book doesn’t really speak to those issues much, he just presents solid theological reflections on Jesus’ humanity. And as I’ll encourage you when I review it (soon!) you should pick up a copy for yourself to read as we approach Christmas.