Bruce Ware on the Incarnation

After a few days of snow and ice in the Tulsa area, my truck doesn’t look too different from the one pictured below:

Muddy truckIt does not look like the same truck I bought from my friend. And yet, the truck hasn’t changed at all. It may not be as shiny and black-looking, but it drives the same.

This gives me an opportunity to share one of the most helpful illustrations I have ever read on the incarnation. it comes from Bruce Ware’s book The Man Christ Jesus (pgs. 20-21). He is how he illustrates Jesus’ incarnation and emptying Himself for us (Phil 2:5-8):

“Imagine, first, going into a new car dealership for the purpose of test-driving a brand-new car. As you are looking around the showroom floor, a salesman approaches and talks to you about several models on display. Your eye lands on a particularly bright and shiny car, brilliantly reflecting the sunlight streaming in. You ask if you can test-drive this beautiful, shiny car, and the salesman agrees. As you leave for your test-drive, you decide to drive out in the country for a bit, and in doing so you come upon some unpaved dirt roads. It so happens that this area had received torrential rains for the past several days, so these dirt roads are extremely muddy. Nonetheless, you drive this new shiny car on those muddy back roads for several miles, spinning the tires and enjoying how the car handles in these slipper conditions. Returning the car to the dealership, you pull into a lot and drive it right back onto the showroom floor – now caked all over with mud!

“When the salesman sees you and his car, he comes over and exclaims, ‘What have you done to my car?’

“At this you calmly reply, ‘I haven’t taken anything away from your car; I’ve only added to it!’

And of course, the point is correct. The beautiful shine of the car is still there. Its luster and beauty haven’t been removed. But what has happened is that something else has been added to the car that prevents these qualities from being able to shine through. The beauty of the car has not been destroyed or even diminished, but that beauty has been covered over by the mud. One might even say this: the glory of the car is every bit as much present as it was previously, but this glory cannot be seen for what it is because of the covering of mud. Taking on the mud, then, has added something that results in its appearing less, while in fact it is only more.”

In like manner, Jesus added to his nature when he added humanity and thus, his full beauty was hidden from us in a way. This is the meaning of him emptying himself.


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