Last year I alerted you to my colleague William Varner’s book on the Passion Week, and he has now completed a trilogy on the life of Christ. The second book he wrote is called Anticipating the Advent, a timely book as we begin the season where we are looking forward to celebrating Jesus’s birth.
The third book was just released last week, and it covers everything between the Advent and the Passion Week. Entitled Messiah’s Ministry: Crises of the Christ, this book offers Varner’s reflections on a lifetime of studying and teaching the life of Christ at The Master’s University. Some chapter titles will give you an idea of the uniqueness of this book’s approach:
- Messiah and the Men of Qumran
- Messiah in the Water
- Messiah and Women
- Messiah and the Goyim
- Messiah and the Mystery Man
Those who know Dr. Varner will not be surprised by the happy juxtaposition of academic and devotional throughout the book, illustrated by each chapter’s closing with a recommended resource and a prayer.
This book will always have a special place on my shelf because of the inscription on the dedication page. Will and I have been colleagues for 25 years now, originally separated by an ocean but now by just a hallway, and I am grateful for his personal encouragement, steadfast faith, and joy in the Lord. But all readers will benefit from his careful research and keen insights into the life of Christ in this book and all three in the trilogy.
The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats. The book’s foreword is written by Robert H. Gundry, and endorsements include these:
“The issues addressed by Dr. William Varner in Messiah’s Ministry relate to the credibility of Jesus’ stunning claims concerning Himself. Throughout His ministry, Jesus claimed to be the Messiah/Christ and to be God come in the flesh (Matt 16:16; John 11:27; Matt 26:63; John 20:30–31). When Paul told them about the remarkable claims and accomplishments of the Nazarene, the Bereans “searched the Scriptures to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11) and thus believed. You will be blessed to walk with Dr. Varner through some of those Old Testament Messianic anticipations which God used to impact the truth-seeking Bereans so long ago.”Douglas Bookman, Shepherds Theological Seminary
“The best way to describe this excellent work by Dr. Varner is to point out . . . two things which are quite unique to this work. First, he covers what many other similar books cover about the Messiah being a Prophet, Priest, and King. Some of the insights in these three categories, however, are still unique to him and are worthy of consideration and study. Second, here are some new emphases that most books on the Life of Messiah simply do not cover: backgrounds from the Hebrew Scriptures and a frame of reference from rabbinic theology prevalent in first century Israel which is what the Messiah had to interact with whether it came from the Pharisees or from the Sadducees or from the Herodians. This material provides additional perspective in understanding Messiah’s person and work and points out the uniqueness of Dr. Varner’s work. This work is highly recommended, and I encourage all to read this volume as well as the other two volumes in the trilogy.”Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Director of Ariel Ministries