As a kid, I loved reading Mad Magazine. One feature of the publication was a character named Alfred E. Neuman.
With only a few exceptions in the publication’s history, he was displayed somewhere on the cover. Alfred’s catchphrase was usually “What, me worry?”
Jesus said this about worrying in Matthew 6:25-27: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”
How might one describe this form of worrying? It could be said that it is primarily concerned with the self.
I think Jesus gives great advice. It certainly puts things in proper perspective. That said, I wonder if Jesus always followed his own advice? Did Jesus ever worry? Were there times that he needed to remember his own words and apply them to himself?
I see Jesus as being God incarnate, made flesh. As such, he was both divine and human. This has been described to me as him being 100 percent divine and 100 percent human. So, the question is, exactly how did that work? It really doesn’t compute in the world of math and human logic. However, within the mysteries contained in what we call theology, it is how Jesus is often described.
So, if Jesus was fully human, it does not do justice to think of him as some sort of cosmic superhero that lacked human emotions.
I find it comforting that Jesus did show signs of worry. For example, Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 26: “Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” What is different about this form of worry was that it showed concern for someone other than self.
So, Jesus worry? Yes, I would say so. He most certainly showed concern for Peter. He may worry about you as well. Such worry is a sign of strength – evidence of love that reaches outside of self to care. I believe that God does care. No need to worry about this.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for 30 years.