Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jesus the Indicative

"Jesus was a revealer of the laws which underlie the universe.  He seldom used the imperative, almost never the subjunctive, almost entirely the indicative."  -E. Stanley Jones, The Word Became Flesh, p. 37.

Can anyone confirm the accuracy of this statement?  Has anyone counted up the number of times Jesus used the indicative in comparison to the subjunctive and imperative?  Is this a meaningful difference?

The imperative is a command (You do this!)  The subjunctive can be an exhortation in some forms (Let us do this!)  The subjunctive also expresses deliberation (should I do this?) and probability (he might possibly do this.)  

If Jesus seldom commanded, then it would make those occasions when he did all the more striking.  When and about which subjects was Jesus less than emphatic, and what does that tell us about his ministry and teachings?

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