Tuesday, November 22, 2011

the emotions of Jesus

Stephen Voorwinde’s, Jesus’ Emotions in the Gospels is an intelligent, thorough and challenging study of what is “a blind spot in Gospel studies.” Afterall, Christians tend to downplay the emotions of Jesus. It’s part of the Western cultural distrust of emotion and part of the privileging of male modes of being. A result is the tendency to avoid the radical implications of God as fully human.

Stephen Voorwinde takes note of 60 references to Jesus’ emotions in the Gospels. Each one is then explored, located within their context, literary and cultural. The result is an invitation to not only think, but to worship as well, to be reminded of the sheer radicality of being Christian, of experiencing transformation from a God who in Christ cries and love, is troubled and dismayed, experiences joy and anger.

The theme opens up a rich range of questions

  • Are emotions indicators of humanity? Or divinity?
  • Is it a sign of Christian maturity for us to reflect the emotions of Jesus?

His conclusion is that

“The emotions of Jesus are the emotions of the Messiah … The intensity of Jesus’ emotions .. is often due to a detailed knowledge of the future that is seldom given to mere mortals.” (216)

While I’m not yet convinced of Stephen Voorwinde’s conclusions (too much future knowledge risks underemphasising the full humanity of Jesus), his care, clarity of writing and depth of reading is a rich gift.

Posted by steve at 05:27 PM

1 Comment

  1. Sounds like an interesting read

    Comment by Jason — November 29, 2011 @ 2:12 am

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