“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Yes, Jesus was tempted in every way.
Temped to act like Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore or Loui CK.
As a young, single, sought-after speaker, Jesus was faced with thousands of women who approached him.
For healing, for attention, to worship.
Some of them were beautiful. Some desperate. Others, interesting and engaging. And even one (who might have been known for her sexual sins) showered him with oil… while kissing his feet.
It’s weird to think about it but, Jesus could have slept with any one of them. He could have forced himself. He was seduced to take advantage.
Rape was one of the temptations.
Speaking crap about woman while hanging out with the 12 was another.
And I know this is an uncomfortable way to think about him… but Scripture said it, “tempted in every way.”
Fast forward two thousand years later and we’re talking about the terrible actions of Harvey Weinstein, the vulgar comments from President Donald Trump back in 2005 and the hashtag #MeToo… where thousands of women are courageously sharing their stories of sexual abuse.
Understand that this is not a political post.
Men from both the left and the right, have been disgusting and dishonoring. And as unfortunate as it is to write this, there are similar examples of church leaders who have used their charisma and power to seduce and abuse.
To devalue and discredit.
Jesus on the other hand, used his manhood differently.
His earthly ministry was supported by women. Successful ladies who made more money than Jesus and his twelve. They were the ones who provided the finances for their food and travels (Luke 8:3)
And Jesus had zero issues with that.
He had no macho pride to hinder it. Actually, they are the only supporters mentioned by name. These incredible women did not merely write a check to cover the expenses. They also served meals, preached the good news, healed the sick and accompanied Jesus as leaders.
But there is a lie that still runs through the veins of male-dominated-Christianity, “Men are more powerful and God has given them control.”
It’s not a new deception.
It’s the rape culture in “spiritual” form.
The Rape Culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male aggression and supports violence against women. As Emma Gray wrote, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman out there who hasn’t been groped against her will or propositioned in a way that felt threatening or had a man yell lewd comments at her as she walked down the street. These experiences are seared into our memories and built into our muscles.”
Similarly in the times of Jesus, Jewish rabbis began every temple meeting with the words, “Blessed art thou, O Lord, for thou has not made me a woman.” #Yikes
However, the perfect teacher took a different approach.
We read the Bible without realising that addressing women directly, and in public, was extremely unusual for a Rabbi to do.
“For women and other oppressed people, Jesus turned upside down the accepted wisdom of his day. He violated the mores of his time in every single encounter with women recorded in the four Gospels.”
Philip Yancey in Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?
When the woman broke perfume over his feet and washed them with her hair, or the woman with the issue of blood touched his robe, or he took the hand of the dead daughter of Jairus, or Mary sat at his feet listening to his teaching, whenever those things happened, they defied all the normal rules of that society.
He even saved a woman from being stoned.
Literally stepping in to stop male “justified” abuse (according to the law of Moses).
Because Jesus is what God has to say about women.
With his ministry, he taught that women were equal to men in God’s eyes. That they could receive forgiveness and grace. That they could be among Christ’s personal followers. Full participants in the kingdom of God.
And these ideas were revolutionary!
They continue to be.
Sometimes male leaders in the church fight hard to push for the “guidelines” set by the Apostle Paul concerning women. Yet at the same time they ignore the incredible legacy Jesus left for the role of a woman with authority in the ministry.
Paul himself made the most stunning invitation to us (the male husband) to, “Love your wives as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for her.” Which is the highest standard and the greatest sacrifice (and the main verse we men need to focus on).
“The church should be the safest, freest, and most empowering place for women. But the fact remains that the patriarchal paradigm still exists in the church.”
It is ironic that with the low status of women in his day, “the first Christian preachers of the Resurrection were not men, but women.” Jesus did not appear first to Peter, or even the beloved disciple John. He appeared first to Mary, and the women who followed him and served him.
Mary who saw him first, became the first person ever to let other people know, “He is alive!” – The ultimate message of Christianity.
The first messenger of the New Covenant.
I believe Jesus deliberately appeared to Mary first. He was sending the church a message spoken through actions not just words.
And he is sending the message still today.
What Harvey Weinstein has done is a nasty symptom of a reality that is still pulsating through media, entertainment, politics, religion and the church of Jesus.
It’s time to recognize the temptation to use and abuse; the ungodly desire to control and dominate.
Let this horrible story become the opportunity for us men to learn from the perfect one (who defeated those temptations) in order to become the Champion Savior of all women and men.
But we need to start showing dramatic grace for the victim, the hurting, the innocent.
It starts with abusers owning their abuse. No excuses. No justifications.
It moves to the victims walking in radical forgiveness. At their pace. With our support.
It ends with the Church not hiding its weakness in this area. And taking responsibility for its faults.
The standard is Christ!
He cares about women’s fair wages. Jesus is committed to their honor in leadership. He has given them a platform of influence and transformation.
And our homes and churches need to be the safest, most empowering place for all of them.
God the Father wants the Rape Culture (in talk, behavior and thought) eliminated.
Let’s begin with self-awareness.
+ If you enjoyed this article, I think you will love my new book: Drop the Stones | Courageous Mercy In An Age Of Judgements. You can sign up to our email list and get the first chapter right here: