Monday, April 29, 2013

Jesus: perfect? Discuss!

A friend threw me a theological poser on Facebook today. (My friends know I like such things!) Here it is:
Having a few musings today..... Jesus/God was perfect, right. Ok good, Jesus also has been through everything we go through and knows what it is like. However feelings like - envy, jealousy, pride, unforgiveness - we would consider to be sinful. So then could Jesus have ever felt those things if he was in fact perfect - without sin? Did he know what it was like to feel those things? And further is it the feeling that is sinful or in fact the action that comes from it? - Discuss.
And here's my brief reply:
Jesus - what does his perfection mean?
Interesting question. Touches on some deep and mysterious stuff about the incarnation. If Jesus' humanness was genuine (which we absolutely believe it was), he must have had weaknesses: his 'perfection' didn't preclude them. He was afraid (Gethsemane), he was grieved (Lazarus), angry (especially with the Pharisees), exasperated (especially with his followers). He got hungry, tired, hurt. I think he must have had feelings prompting him towards envy, jealousy, pride, unforgiveness... But as you say, the crucial difference is that he didn't let the feelings (temptations if you like) harden into attitudes. As for his perfection - the book of Hebrews says he 'learned obedience', which implies his perfection was not a static state like a marble statue, but again a human reality, something he matured into as he made holy decisions.
Would you have added anything? Or said it differently? Or said something else entirely?

And here's another question for the keen. In our thoughts about Jesus, do we tend towards overemphasising his deity or his humanity (or do we get the balance right)? And what might be the implications of this (either way)?

As my friend said: 'Discuss'!


Aidan Ashby said...

"feelings like - envy, jealousy, pride, unforgiveness"...
If we take the view that sin = selfishness not all of that list is necessarily sinful.

For instance, because God loves us He hates what destroys us & separates us from Him, it makes Him rightfully angry- that's unselfish hate & good anger. Sinful hate & anger is selfish hate & anger.

Jesus went through everything that would make us selfishly angry, jealous, covetous, proud etc but never responded selfishly. Sometimes he responded in unselfish anger, though apparently slow to rebuke and quick to bless.

Woja fink?

n0rma1 said...

Sounds good, Aidan. I wonder if in some ways, selfishness is a more useful word in our times than sin.