What Kind of Man Was Jesus?

July 25, 2014

He v. She?I know I usually write about Jesus and women, but as I study the life of Jesus in the gospels, I am left with some questions about how Jesus embodied masculinity.

I see that he wasn’t very competitive. He said the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

He wasn’t into power or domination. He said that he who would be lord of all must be the servant of all. He said when someone hits you, you should turn the other cheek, and then he went to the cross like a lamb to the slaughter. He blessed the meek and the peacemakers. He taught love of enemies and living through dying.

He usually sided with the underdogs, ministering to the sick, disabled, poor, and marginalized.

He never even married and said that if anyone loves their parents or kids more than him, they’re not worthy of him.

Whose model of manhood was he following anyway? In nearly every culture in history masculinity has to a degree been defined in contrast to femininity. Women do that; men never do that. Women are this way; men are that way. You know, the Mars-Venus stuff.

In the gospels, even though Jesus spent a lot of time around guys (especially the Twelve), he never talked about being manly. He didn’t discuss masculinity or femininity in any way. He never stereotyped people by gender. He never disparaged one gender or praised another. Nor did he contrast men’s and women’s “places” or “roles.” His followers consisted of both men and women, and his teachings and illustrations encompassed both.

Is it possible that Jesus was modeling a new way of thinking about men and women—new Kingdom thinking, redeemed fully from Eden’s curse? Maybe it’s time to cool it with the opposing gender stereotypes.


The photos came from the Creative Commons and were taken by “A bloke called Jerm” (left) and Bob Nichols (right) under the Attribution License.

This post was updated on Aug. 11, 2014

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