What was Jesus actually thinking?

Lest they risk (at the worst) blasphemy, or (at the least) stepping on someone theological toes, throughout the ages people have been hesitant to try and guess what what actually going through Jesus’ head. Any approach that imagines him to only be thinking high mystical ideals is effectively denying his manhood. This is gnosticism. Anything that skims over the fact that he had the full measure of the Holy Spirit (at least from age 30 on) and never entertained sinful thoughts is denying his divinity. Tricky business!

Anne Rice (of fictional vampire fame) has recently taken a serious swing at it in her Christ the Lord novels. These are narrated by Jesus in the first person. I haven’t read them but they are, from all accounts, carefully researched and fairly convincing. The first chapter of the narrative begins:

I was seven years old. What do you know when you’re seven years old?

An excellent question!

The wise Bishop of Durham also can’t resist exploring this a bit in his apologetics:

I do not thing that Jesus “knew he was divine” in the same way that we know we are cold or hot, happy or sad, male or female. It was more like the kind of “knowledge” we associate with vocation, where people know, in the very depths of their being, that they are called to be an artist, a mechanic, a philosopher.

-N.T. Wright, Simply Christian, p.119