What do we mean when we say that Jesus was both fully divine and fully human? Most Christians have some clear ideas about Jesus being fully God, but His being a man is harder to conceive and explain. In fact, most Christians would rather not discuss the subject for fear of inadvertently attacking Christ’s deity. It is in this usually avoided area of doctrine that Patrick Henry Reardon writes. This book, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, boldly tackles the subject.
Reverent study of the humanity of Christ will in no way lessen our respect of the divinity of Christ, but rather better define it. Actually, our appreciation of what Jesus did for us will grow exponentially as we see that He suffered as we suffer, he felt pain and heartaches as we feel them, and He understands on every level all that we could ever go through.
In this thought-provoking work, we are forced to confront Christ’s humanity head on. Questions that you either never thought of, or thought it best to never think of, are asked in a way that you much decide or close the book. In the preface alone, the shocking question of did Jesus ever get sick and vomit is asked. Before you run away, ask yourself if that isn’t a worthy question. Does Jesus understand when I am in the middle of a bout of extreme nauseousness? At this point doctrine and daily living intersect.
I couldn’t say that I agree with every conclusion of Mr. Reardon. When he speaks of Jesus and His mother Mary being at odds at the wedding where He turns water to wine, I feel he slightly stretches the extent of it. While I can appreciate the bewildering nature of Mary’s experience as Jesus grew up, I can’t help but believe that she did think of Him as we usually picture it in light of the angel’s graphic description of the Child she would carry. The extraordinary fact of the Virgin Birth could never be lost on her for a moment, even though her being a human mother had to come out at times. Mr. Reardon also attributes more to the human author’s personal knowledge (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) than I would feel comfortable doing as it would overlook the ultimate authorship of the Holy Spirit.
But when Mr. Reardon talks about Jesus’ growing up always going to the synagogue, or His interaction with certain individuals, or His sufferings in Gethsemane or on the cross, he is spot on. I have been blessed by studying Christology and it looks like we have a tool here to help those who have never studied it to get going.
Pastors can gain further insights on the Hypostatic Union while laymen can follow the discussion with minimal heavy theological terms. That makes this book, even with the few aforementioned caveats, a winner all the way around.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .