More about the Affection of Christ Jesus
by: David Walls
Yesterday we were reminded that some find it difficult to embrace the affection of Jesus. Some of us believe that no one, let alone Jesus, could possibly love us. We believe this because of something we have done, or perhaps because of something that was done to us. Some have chosen out of pain to protect their hearts, and as of this moment they have strung barbed wire around them, allowing no one in, not even Jesus. Others resist the embrace of Jesus because it does not fit their picture of God. They have created or selected a lens for God that distorts him—that accentuates his judgment and wrath—and out of that viewpoint they stiff-arm “the affection of Jesus.” Still others resist, dismiss, or negate the affection of Jesus because their approach to God is rational, academic, and unconnected to emotion, now or ever.
The most notable thing about the word “affection” is that to a first-century Greek its use with a divine god would have seemed utterly impossible. According to the Stoic philosophers of that age, the supreme and essential divine characteristic is “apatheia,” or the incapability of feeling. The Greeks believed in gods who could not feel. They taught that if you would be godlike, you must not care about others. Pagan religious and philosophical teaching advocated a god whose essence was incapable of compassion. What kind of God do you believe in?