Saturday, 13 March 2010

Lent Course 2010 [Blog] - Part IV

Jesus and Surprise

sur·prise  (sr-prz)
tr.v. sur·prised, sur·pris·ing, sur·pris·es
1. To encounter suddenly or unexpectedly; take or catch unawares.
2. To attack or capture suddenly and without warning.
3. To cause to feel wonder, astonishment, or amazement, as at something unanticipated.
a. To cause (someone) to do or say something unintended.
b. To elicit or detect through surprise.
1. The act of surprising or the condition of being surprised.
2. Something, such as an unexpected encounter, event, or gift, that surprises.
It seems to me, on the face of it (pardon the pun), that Jesus was very level-headed - not given to 'peaks and troughs' of emotion. I am also aware that this could be an editorial consequence of much compression, the passage  of time before accounts were consigned to paper, or just because no-one was really that bothered. However, as I think on this more, I wonder if this is a fair appraisal. In terms of the emotion 'surprise', I wonder if it provided something of the tension that must have existed within him given his divine status and concomitant human status. The 'God bit' must have foreseen everything - no surprises. Equally, the 'human bit' must have been regularly surprised by the reponse of others to him. 

Anyway, to proceed within the framework now established, I will reflect on surprise as an emotion:

  • Is a sense of surprise manifest in my own life - or is it quelled by cynicism or idealism?
  • How do I deal with surprises, be they positive or negative?
  • Am I capable of surprising other people?
  • How does a sense of surprise fit into a Christian way of thinking - with our heritage of miracles and the vastly unexpected being recalled throughout our year?
This all said, just try finding the word 'surprise' in any text that refers to Jesus. There aren't any! However, Matthew 8:10 reports that Jesus was 'astonished' by the faith of the Centurion - not quite surprise, but close!  
But ... I wonder if Jesus was a little surprised by the reaction of his parents when he toddled to the temple when he was twelve years old, to add another possibility. Aren't all kids surprised when something that they do, thinking it to be quite correct, is recieved as folly by the folks at home! Yes, I have to concede that 'surprise' for Jesus is hard to pin down, but clues still exist. Still, when you are the master of 'surprises' yourself, you are perhaps less likely to be surprised - on this I must ponder.

1 comment:

  1. I find Jesus is the one who frequently surprises me and disturbs my pre-conceived images of who he is. I think I know the gospels, then read something in them about Jesus that means I have to take my false image of him back to the drawing board. Was he ever surprised? Surely he must have been? If he had not experienced surprise, could the man Jesus have told stories with such subversive surprise elements?



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