Reviews > Q&A

More than a brain

"More than a brain" Continued...

Issue: "Crossing the Rubiocon," Aug. 14, 2010

You've said, "If today I manage to function as a pastor, it is not least because I know something about pain." Yes. One discovers, if you go through whatever it is, pain in your family, pain in health-if you're honest, you quickly realize that being human is a very fragile thing, a very vulnerable thing. We are all like that. I was college chaplain in Oxford for many years after we came back from McGill. Often it was the students who would seem to have the most friends, be the most full of life and laughter-they would be the ones who would come into my room, burst into tears and tell me that actually this was all a façade.

You could sympathize with their anguish. I have enormous sympathy for that. Part of growing up is to be able to integrate, to face the pain, and to work through it. The New Testament is all about sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

The significant insights you had about Jesus were connected with this suffering? Yes. You can see that in the cry of dereliction on the cross, when He says, "My God, why did You abandon Me?" I don't think that's fake. I think that's absolutely real. And likewise Gethsemane, when He says, "Is this really the way? Please, couldn't we do this differently?" and then in prayer comes to the point where He says, "OK, Your will be done." I don't think that's play-acting.

Jesus knew how hard it would be to have the weight of the world's sins on Him. When Jesus says, "I'm going to be crucified," and Peter says, "No, no, no, You're not. Don't be silly, that'll never happen to You," Jesus says, "Get behind me, Satan." I think that isn't just a rebuke to Peter. Jesus knows that this is a temptation that He has had to face and will have to face. So Jesus' embracing the way of the cross is a deeply human thing.

He was fully human. I as a young Christian had just assumed that He was the Son of God and He knew how to die for the sins of the world, so no problem. We go to Jerusalem and we do it, and three days later we'll be back. I really don't think that's what it was like. I think that diminishes His humanness. By learning more about my own humanness I was alerted to the possibility that maybe when the church teaches as it does that Jesus was fully human, that maybe this is part of what that meant.
Email Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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