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Reflection 10: Strangely otherwise and compelling

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Reflection 10: Strangely otherwise and compelling

Reflection 10: Strangely otherwise and compelling

Reflection 10: Strangely otherwise and compelling

Jesus’ personality was difficult for his contemporaries to decipher—his intentions were not anticipated; his words and actions were not selected motifs of self-expression. He aroused astonishment, not by celebrity but as counter-intuitive in generosity and confronting in veracity. Before a looming cross, his personality was unreadable by intimate friends. Jesus was an enigma to his disciples and ignominious to almost all as finally crucified. On a road to Emmaus, his personality is concealed; he is a stranger to those who had invested hope in him. His identity is only disclosed to them in breaking bread, even as his previous exposition of Scripture is now a source of impulsive joy as its inner impetus becomes clear in him.

Admiration for a selectively framed profile might occur without personal influence or change. This is more than a story exhibiting a “photogenic” personality. Four gospels—extravagant with detail that resists a crimped account—present a character whose impetus is strangely otherwise than our contemporary orientation to celebrity personalities and consumer motifs of self-expression. By attending patiently to these narratives and to our counter-intuitive inklings concerning integral humanity, a different profile can emerge as a compelling invitation to engage a present christological reality.

Dr Stephen Curkpatrick, Senior Lecturer in Theology

Cover image: John Runciman, Christ with his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (1760)