FORGET THE DONKEY, MY JESUS RODE A T-REX: THIS AND OTHER ABSURDITIES CONCERNING THE “MANLINESS” OF JESUS
Forget the meek and mild, my tough badass Jesus would never ride a pathetic little donkey. He would have traveled back in time and captured himself a dinosaur. And not just any dinosaur, but a ferocious T-Rex and would have ridden that manly beast into Jerusalem.
Nothing says king of kings like a mounted carnivorous thunder-lizard.
Thinking of Jesus as a “man’s man” and as a really tough bodybuilding type guy is quite in vogue in the church. Apparently many got tired of seeing Jesus as some sissy wimp that, with over effeminate features and a frail body, would give out a girly scream tumbling to the floor after a Roman soldier struck him. No. It is easier and more appealing to think of him as a righteous warrior with the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian—sword wielding and clade in barbarian decor.
This image seems to keep growing and is becoming wildly popular.
Recently at a well-known leaders conference on the west-coast, a particular speaker called these future church movers and shakers to have the proper perspective of Christ. He had rippling muscles and huge biceps—the result of that intense labor as a carpenter. The speaker cast an image of a buff, wild man building stuff and merely flexing his muscles to drive away evil.
This image is by no means restricted to this particular speaker. Another rather influential leader spoke of Christ as a sort of construction worker. He was a hard-hat wearing, hammer wielding tough guy.
This arnoldschwarzenizing of Jesus is the product of many trying to rescue Christ from being seen as a wimp. With the best of intentions, these teachers sought to correct this oversight—but they have gone to far.
Jesus was not some UFC fighter wrestling the devil. He was a simple and rather ordinary looking man. Nothing was imposing about his physical appearance. And this is as it should be. This is the beauty of his humility.
We should not rewrite the gospel to make it fit us and our culture. Though physical prowess and manliness is praised, Jesus was not about those things.
Jesus was tough, but tough in the spirit and in the mind.
He was merciful to the weak. He was loving and caring. He was gentile with the hurting. But he was ruthless with sin. He spoke searing words of fire to the religious elite. And he spoke of the dangers of hell far more than the bliss of heaven.
Jesus was a tough guy. As tough as they come.
But his toughness is not measured in rippling muscles or how many one-handed push ups he could do. His greatness was not measured by anything physical, but by his ability to transcend his physical needs.
He went over a month in a hot desert with no food or water. He endured homelessness and being made a mockery. His closest friends abandoned him. He was beat with rods. His flesh was torn from his body. He endured an unbelievable amount of pain—more so than most could possibly imagine. And above all this, took on all the sins of all humanity throughout all time—and felt their guilt and burden deep within his bones as he died a traitorous death.
All of this he endured.
This is the ultimate image of toughness.
Forget the muscles. Forget the deep man-voice and the ancient tool-belt with that wooden hammer hanging at his hip. Those are not measures of this “manliness.” Those are not ideals to which godly men should aspire.
Jesus, the creator of the universe and author of all had infinite power at his figure tips. Whether or not that power was his to control while in the flesh, he chose to humble himself for all humanity.
The lowliness and average life that he lived prior to his ministry demonstrates his wild and remarkable humility. To make him more physically domineering and powerful in the flesh—even though done out of a desire to correct people’s impressions of a wimpy, prissy Jesus—undermines his true purpose and example.
No matter our physical condition, our domineering “manliness,” or our readiness to get into a UFC ring with the devil, it is the spirit within us that makes us powerful. It is the conquest of sin in our lives that should be taught. This is the core example from Christ’s life for men today—to be humble and serve the lowest of humanity.
Though he had infinite power, he told people to not resist the harmful actions of evil men. Though he could, with a flashing thought, end the existence of the Roman soldiers, he allowed them to beat him to hamburger meat, bloody and mashed.
Everything physical that this world praises, Jesus allowed to be stripped from him.
This is the radical Christ.
Though he could have come to the earth as a muscle clad, arnoldschwarzenized, machine-gun wielding, dinosaur riding tough guy, he chose the average, born in the middle of nowhere, donkey riding homeless hippie lifestyle that he did.
How would you or I choose?
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