The Sinless Emotions of Christ

with 2 comments

In his book, The Person of Christ, Donald Macleod writes a helpful paragraph about Christ’s sinless human emotions.   How do we reconcile Jesus’ being a “man of sorrows” with his being perfectly joyful?  Macleod writes:

There can be little doubt that, apart from the brief (although indescribably intense) moment of the dereliction on Calvary, Jesus was serene, contented and happy.  He rejoiced, doubtless, in the being of his Father, meditating on him as an object of wonder and admiration; in his Father’s love, approbation and constant help and presence; in the beauties and glories of his Father’s creation; in doing his Father’s will, promoting his glory and saving his people; in the friendship, company, and conversation of those the Father had given to be with him; and in anticipating his return to the glory he had with the Father ‘before the world began’ (Jn. 17:5).  Such joy was an indispensable element in the psychology of his obedience.  He served not as a slave but as a Son.

Christ’s sinless human emotions don’t allow us to refer to him as “moody,” “capricious,” “sullen,” etc., but as a perfectly balanced, emotionally stable, joyful man of sorrows, acquainted with the greatest grief as well as the greatest joy.


Written by keywoodblog

August 16, 2011 at 4:34 am

2 Responses

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  1. I see Jesus as having a whole gammet (Sp?) of emotions—grief/sadness over Lazarus’ death, anger over the sellers in the temple, frustration with his disciples,etc. I really don’t see Jesus as always being “serene, contented and happy.” Emotions are just emotions. They try to tell us something, They are signals. God created emotions. God has emotions and we are made in His image. We are emotional beings. But we get into trouble when we act on our emotions, or when we dwell on our emotions. I don’t think someone who is an emotional person is any more or less spiritual than someone who is very stoic. What do you think?

    Judy Disch

    August 17, 2011 at 1:45 am

  2. I agree, we can see Jesus give an entire spectrum of emotions through the NT. I basically posted this in response to a recent sermon I heard in which Jesus was claimed to be “moody” towards Mary at the wedding at Cana, snapping at her when she interrupted his train of thought.

    So, I’m definitely not denying the humanity of His emotional life, but just the sinlessness of his emotional life, where our emotional lives are tainted with manipulative or selfish motives, etc., or use “moody” as an excuse for biting at others, and so forth. It seems like Jesus demonstrates the righteousness of his character, not only by righteous deeds, but also by righteous emotions.

    As far as seeing Jesus as “contented and happy,” Macleod seems to be correcting the idea that Jesus was joyless and sullen person all the time. He says, “Apart from all else, a joyless life would have been a sinful life.” So even when Jesus was in the worst agony in the garden, He “for the joy set before HIm endured the cross.” Thanks for the comment, and keeping my wheels turning(!)


    August 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm

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