Jesus Christ: The True Model for Biblical Masculinity
Boys and men today are facing a crisis of masculinity. To solve this crisis, positive examples are needed. The best example of biblical masculinity is Jesus Himself.
The first post in this two-part series ended with important questions: What does a real man look like? Who should be our model for real, healthy manhood in the 21st century?
The answer is Jesus Christ.
Though Jesus Christ is often falsely portrayed as a long-haired, effeminate male in movies and art, this is not the Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible. In fact, the Gospel accounts paint a very different picture of Christ through their descriptions of both His words and actions.
The Jesus Christ of the Bible is the perfect representation of true masculinity and manhood. He was (and is) the perfect balance of all the characteristics a man should strive to build today. Today’s world needs men who not only live by Christ’s teachings—but imitate the entire example of how He lived His life (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6).
That example can transform us individually, and our society as a whole!
Men: Don’t click the “Back” button! You can’t afford not to read the rest of this blog post!
Jesus and biblical masculinity
Consider five essential lessons about developing true biblical masculinity, becoming a real man, from the example of Jesus Christ:
1. Real men prepare themselves in their youth.
Though the Bible provides few details about the childhood of Jesus Christ, we do have enough details to know that the young Jesus was focused on His education and preparation for adulthood.
Luke records, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
That didn’t just happen.
The young Jesus studied and applied Himself. We see an example of this when He stayed behind in Jerusalem after the Passover. His parents found Him “in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions” (verse 46).
Jesus Christ’s example for you, as young men today, is to take your education and preparation for adulthood seriously in your youth. Don’t waste your early years only playing video games and watching movies. Be focused on your future and the preparation needed to achieve your goals.
To learn more about the importance of education and preparation in life, read “Adulting Milestones: The Success Sequence.”
2. Real men work.
Jesus Christ’s life was an example of work and productivity.
In His adult life, we know of Jesus’ having two primary occupations—carpenter and teacher. His young adult years were primarily spent working in the carpentry profession, learning the profession from Joseph (His stepfather) and probably working in a family business with His physical brothers (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3).
After about the age of 30, Jesus transitioned into a teacher and spent the rest of His physical life traveling across Judea, Samaria and Galilee preaching, teaching, healing, training His disciples and working with individuals one-on-one. In fact, Jesus’ life was so active and productive that there wasn’t room in the Gospels to record all He did (John 21:25)!
Christ’s example for men today is to develop a strong work ethic. Real men don’t linger in a childhood mentality focused on entertainment, inactivity and laziness—they grow up and work (1 Corinthians 13:11). They work to support themselves (and eventually to support their families)—and have a drive to be productive.
To learn more about the importance of a strong work ethic, read “Hard Work.”
3. Real men respect women.
Jesus Christ lived in a society that had little regard for women. But Jesus stood out as a Man who treated women with honor and respect. He spoke to women publicly, even when it was taboo to do so in the culture of His time (John 4:7-9; 8:10-11). Jesus highlighted women’s actions as lessons for others to follow (Mark 12:41-44; 14:8-9). Jesus showed concern for women who were suffering (Mark 5:25-34; Luke 13:10-12). Jesus honored and respected His mother (Luke 2:51; John 19:26-27).
A man practicing biblical masculinity will never use degrading language to describe women—in their presence or “with the guys”.Christ’s example for men today is to respect all women and treat them with honor. Many young men—influenced by music, advertising, pornography and movies—view women as sexual objects.
Using derogatory words for women is common in certain genres of music, in some movies, and in some male-only conversations (sometimes called “locker-room talk” or “guy talk”). Real men have nothing to do with this. Instead they should treat all women with dignity, honor and respect.
A man practicing biblical masculinity will never use degrading language to describe women—in their presence or “with the guys”. This kind of speech and behavior demonstrates weakness and immaturity, not strength or masculinity.
For more insight about how men should (and shouldn’t) treat women, read “A World Where #MeToo Couldn’t Exist.”
4. Real men love kids.
Though Jesus had a busy and active schedule, He didn’t consider anyone a waste of His time—especially children! We read how parents brought children to Jesus for Him to bless (Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17). These parents must have known that He loved children and would set aside time for them. In fact, Jesus rebuked those who interfered with that time!
Jesus frequently healed children of ailments and interacted with children with love and gentleness (Mark 5:35-43).
Christ’s example for men today is not to ignore children, but to pay attention to them and protect them.
A real man doesn’t lustfully impregnate women only to abandon them to care for children alone. A real man chooses one woman to love and marry and then brings children into that solid, loving family relationship.
5. Real men control themselves.
Jesus Christ did experience temptations to sin, but resisted every time and never sinned.
The author of Hebrews tells us that He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He never allowed desire and lust to conceive in His mind (James 1:15). He resisted and denied wrong thoughts and didn’t let them germinate and grow. That is because Jesus governed Himself by a moral code (based on God’s law) and never deviated from it.
He exercised perfect self-control—a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23).
Christ’s example for men today shows that they should not be driven by urges, what feels good or what’s convenient. This world needs men who govern themselves by the same moral code that Jesus had.
For more insight on the topic of the self-control needed to follow Jesus’ example, read “Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control,” “Lust: Satan’s Daily Attack on Men, Part 1” and “Lust: Christian Men Fight Back, Part 2.”
The perfect example of balanced and biblical masculinity
We could go on and on. Everything written about Jesus in the New Testament is a model for men (and women!) today. Hundreds of practical points can be derived from Christ’s life and teachings.
In order for biblical masculinity to be restored, this world needs men who model their lives after the perfect example of correct and balanced masculinity—Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ demonstrated the perfect balance of masculine strength with gentleness and care. He could rebuke religious leaders and turn over tables, and He could also comfort grieving people and hold children in His arms. He was a leader and also a servant. He was incredibly bold and also caringly gentle. He worked hard, loved all people and never deviated from His mission.
Men, this is the example we should strive to follow. This is the model of masculinity that our lives need to be patterned after.
What is the meaning of toxic masculinity?
The harmful traits called toxic masculinity all represent what the Bible describes as sin or carnality.It’s impossible to fully cover this subject without addressing a relatively new term that has entered our collective vocabulary: toxic masculinity.
This term describes an extreme form of masculinity that finds outlets in harmful ways. These include extreme aggression toward others, gaining unhealthy power and status at the expense of others, never showing any weakness, and abusing or mistreating women.
Some have used the idea of toxic masculinity to attack masculinity in general and advocate pushing men in the extreme opposite direction—to become more feminine—or advocate blending the genders in various ways.
Toxic masculinity and the Bible
First of all, the Bible is clear that God made a distinction between male and female from the beginning of creation. He created human beings “male and female” (Genesis 1:27). Much of what society today defines as toxic masculinity has nothing to do with how men should live and behave in ways that are different from those of women. The harmful traits called toxic masculinity all represent what the Bible describes as sin or carnality. Carnality is simply living in a way that opposes God (Romans 8:7).
Read these three sections of Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:1-5. All three of these sections list characteristics of sinful living. Nearly all of the characteristics associated with toxic masculinity today are found in these lists.
The bottom line is this: The real problem is not masculinity. The problem is sinful carnality. There are some sins that men are more prone to commit (just as there are other sins that women are more prone to commit), but that doesn’t mean masculinity or manhood is the problem. Sin is the problem.
This is the path to becoming a real man.
For part 1 in this series, see “What Happened to Masculinity?”