A while ago I started reading through the Gospel of Luke to see what Jesus said specifically to men and I have written a couple of posts on it. I wanted to see if Jesus gave a specific theology of manhood. Surprisingly, (and maybe the reason why I didn’t finish the series earlier), Jesus says relatively little directly on the subject. (I’m coming back to it because I have a talk to give on the subject!). He doesn’t come out with great proclamations “Men, act like this” or “Women, act like that”. He does, however say things to individual men that can be applied to all of us (to men and women) and to individual women which also apply to men. And of course, we can take his example as the perfect human, as Mark Driscoll outlines here.
I covered chapters 1-3 and 4-8 in previous posts. The rest of the book has more indirect teaching on attitudes which can apply to men and to women. From these, I would say that Biblical manhood is less about becoming a ‘real man’ whatever that might mean, and more about becoming a real disciple.
Here are a couple of passages from Luke 9 onwards that struck me as being relevant, but they are far from being an exhaustive list.
From chapter 12, I was struck by the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21). The man stored away his wealth in barns and had so much wealth that he decided to make bigger barns. It reminded me of great natural disasters, such as the earthquakes in New Zealand and the Tsunami and quake in Japan last year. They are both wealthy countries which had a lot of devastation from the disasters. The people who died were no more or less deserving of their fate than anyone else (cf. Tower of Siloam Luke 13:4) and they were going about their lives in a normal way when devastation struck. Many lost their lives, many more lost everything they had. Wealth is worth surprisingly little in this life.
Later (Luke 20), Jesus is teaching and some teachers of the law wanted to catch him out in what he said. So they sent people to ask a question that might get him into trouble. “Is it right for us [Jews] to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”. If he said ‘Yes’, the Jews would be upset as they resented the Roman presence as an occupying force. If he said ‘No’ they could legitimately take him to the governors under the charge of undermining the authorities.
To answer, Jesus asks the poser of the question for a Denarius (a coin) and notes that Caesar’s image is on the coin, much like the Queen’s profile is on our coins today. He then remarks “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s” (Luke 20:25). The unspoken question that follows is “Who’s image in on you?”. Every Jew would know that they are made in the image of God, and that if they owe the coin to Caesar, they owe their life to God. This is a call to close discipleship once again, and is applicable to men and to women.
To conclude, from my first post (chapters 1-3) we have a call to commitment to God and to your family, bringing them up in the way of God.
From my second (chapters 4-8) we have an exhortation to work hard, be honest in what you do, and content in what you have. We can bring God’s wisdom and attitude into everything we do, not leaving him at the door. Again from Jesus’ interactions with the man who was healed of demon possession, there is a call to be committed to family by being there for them and representing Jesus in the place where you are.
And in this post, the emphasis of the passages seems to be about allegiance – to God above everything else.
Biblical manhood, is about biblical discipleship. Becoming fully human in God is emphasised more than trying to match up to a version of manhood or womanhood.