Friday, October 5, 2012

Questions About Jesus's Humanity

If Jesus was fully divine and fully human, and if he was crucified, buried, and resurrected, post-bodily resurrection, is Jesus still fully human?

Do emotions make Jesus "more" human or do emotions make humans a clearer reflection of the divine image?

And what were the thoughts underpinning Jesus's emotions?

We often get glimpses of Jesus's emotions.  We read in the gospels that he was angry, he was moved with pity (though a better translation might be compassion), we read that he wept indicating he mourned.

Other times, though, we get no indication of either Jesus's thoughts or his emotions.

How much easier would it be to interpret a text if the writer had given us just a bit more?

In Mark 8:17-21, we read, "Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: 'Why are you talking about having no bread?  Do you still not see or understand?  Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?  And do you not remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?'  'Twelve,' they replied.  'And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how man basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?'  They answered, 'Seven.'  He said to them, 'Do you still not understand?'"

But how did Jesus ask these things?  Couldn't the writer just tell us, "And thinking about how stupid his disciples were, Jesus angrily asked, 'Do you still not get it?' silently tacking on, 'you freakin' morons.'"

Or how about, "And thinking how foolish his disciples were to be so concerned, Jesus asked, 'Do you still not understand?' slightly bemused and with a smile playing upon his lips...."

Or again, "Thinking about how short-sighted his disciples were, how much they needed to learn, and how little time he had left, Jesus sighed with frustration and asked, 'Do you still not understand?'"

Or how about, "Thinking about how he desired to be known by his disciples as intimately as he knew them, Jesus asked, 'Do you still not understand?' a tone desperate longing  in his voice."

All we really know is what Jesus is reported to have said.

Another passage that stumps me as to what Jesus is thinking and feeling is John 21:15-17.

"When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?'  'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'you know that I love you.'  Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.'  Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?'  He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.'  Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.'   The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?'
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.'"

For those you who do not have a concordance immediately available, the conversation in the contemporary vernacular goes something like this:

"Peter, do you love me?  Completely and unconditionally?" Jesus asked.

"Yeah, Jesus.  You know I like you!  I love you like I love me some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies or like I love singing in the shower," Peter replied.

"Okay," Jesus tried again.  "But do you love me?  Are you fully committed?  Are you all in?"

And Peter replied, "Ah, Jesus.  You know you're important to me.  I totally facebooked you last week!"

Finally Jesus asked Peter, "Peter, do you like me?  Are we friends?"

And Peter was sad that Jesus asked him this third time if they were even friends and said, "Jesus, you know everything.  You know that I like you.  You know that we're pals."

What did Jesus feel when he asked Peter, "Do you love me?" and Peter responded, "Lord, you know that you're my pal"?

Did Jesus feel like a failure?

Did he ever wonder if he had loved Peter well?

Did he ever wonder if he had loved people well?

Did he ever wonder if he had done something wrong, that Peter loved him, but did not love him?

And what was it like for Jesus to entrust his entire flock to someone who wasn't as invested in Jesus as Jesus was in him?

Did Jesus ever wonder if he was doing it right?

And when people responded with anger or fear, did he ever doubt his ability to love people well, to effectively communicate his love, respect, and care for them, to live out the truth of his being the divine presence on earth?

Did Jesus ever feel like his actions might not be good enough, but have no idea what to do instead?

Or did Jesus recognize that people are messy and broken and that he could only love them as he was called--unconditionally--and trust that God would take care of the rest?

Was Jesus confident in anything he could not quantify, rationalize, or reason with?

Did Jesus ever feel unsure and insecure when it came to things he couldn't make sense of?  Like....people?

If Jesus really was fully human, how human is human?

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