Here you will find a podcast plus notes on Why God Sent a Son--not a Daughter (20 minutes).
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THE QUESTION: Why did the man Jesus come to earth? Why not a woman: the daughter of God—a female Messiah?
JESUS CAME AS A SON NOT BECAUSE:
- Male is better -- Galatians 3:28 contradicts this.
- God is only analogically masculine, not sexually masculine. When we pray Our Father, it’s not because God is male – since he isn’t a sexual being. If this intrigues you, please hear the podcast on The Shack.
- Random genetics (50/50).
LAMENTABLY, WOMEN WERE DISCOUNTED IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
- Christianity hadn't transformed attitudes towards minorities, the disenfranchised, foreigners, the needy, women--since Christianity did not exist yet. Jesus entered a Jewish world.
- Would be discounted in Roman eyes:
- “Only foolish and low individuals, and persons devoid of perception, and slaves, and women, and children, of whom the teachers of the divine word wish to make converts” -- Celsus in Origen, Contra Celsus, 3.49
- "...Augustus confined women to the back rows even at gladiatorial shows: the only ones exempt from this rule being the Vestal Virgins… No women at all were allowed to witness the athletic contests…" -- Suetonius, Twelve Caesars, Augustus 44.
- Would be discounted by Judaism:
- "... happy is he whose children are males, and woe to him whose children are females." -- Talmud Kiddushim 82b
- "But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex, not let servants be admitted to give testimony on account of the ignobility of their soul, since it is probable that they may not speak truth, either out of hope of gain, or fear of punishment." -- Josephus Antiquities 4.8.15
- "Sooner let the words of the Law be burnt than delivered to women." -- Talmud Sotah 19a
- "Any evidence which a woman [gives] is not valid, also they are not valid [to offer]. This is equivalent to saying that one who is accounted by the rabbis as a robber is qualified to give the same evidence as a woman." -- Talmud Rosh Hashannah 1.8
- Yet some Talmudic passages are more positive towards women, like Niddah 45 and Ketubot 2.6-7.
- (Compare to Islamic view: Female legal witness worth half that of a male “because of deficiencies of a woman’s mind.” -- Hadith of Bukhari, 3.826)
BUT BECAUSE ONLY A MAN COULD FREE BOTH MEN AND WOMEN
- Liberates males from stereotype (and rut) of maleness: "strong, dominating, independent, self-sufficient"
- Jesus taught Paul the important lesson, that "Christ's power is perfected in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- Jesus taught, and lived out, servant leadership (Mark 10, John 13).
- Jesus was emotionally vulnerable (e.g. John 11:35).
- He was connected to others, not a lone wolf.
- Delayed his ministry till he was in his 30s—as oldest of 8 or more children and head male in a family.
- Worked with and through others. He knew men need friends, support. Jesus in this way is the paradigmatic male--showing us men how God meant for us to live all along.
- Doesn’t just model it, but walks us through it.
- Women typically understand this better than men—they're more relational.
- Probably “macho” isn’t the word you’d first apply to Jesus, but in a way he was far more masculine than most men today who are viewed as powerful.
- It takes strength not to go with the flow (get drunk at a party).
- Physical fitness – manual labor as stonemason or carpenter; then walking all over Palestine for 3 years!
- Jesus also showed great emotional strength:
- It takes strength to forgive (Luke 23).
- It takes strength to be patient when others repeatedly let you down.
- It takes strength to receive ugly censure without lashing back, or at least defending yourself.
- Jesus taught that true greatness doesn't lie in how others serve you, but in how you serve others.
- We need this message to sound out not only in our communities, in the government, and in the workplace, and even
- in the church, where the charismatic alpha-male senior pastor paradigm is dominant!
- In short, women were expected to be nurturing, caring. One not expected to behave this way—namely, a man—was able to create a more subversively powerful example of love in action.
- Jesus frees women too, in several ways.
- He shows that gender doesn’t determine worth or rank.
- Treated women with highest respect – unlike the world.
- Completely pure in how he viewed women: they were not objects, but subjects.
- Traditional way of blessing women depended on childbirth – Luke 11:27 – Jesus contradicts this.
- Luke 10 – called women to spend some time away from daily chores to sit at his feet as disciples. See also Luke 8.
- John 4 – the Samaritan woman is more the evangelist than the 12 apostles!
- Of course there’s more to be said:
- We haven’t even discussed the doctrine of the Trinity – how Jesus Christ was eternally the Son of God. (God couldn't send a "daughter" if he didn't have one.)
- or the scandal that would have surrounded an itinerant woman preacher gathering disciples…
- And we've only just begun to work through the implications for the current feminist controversy.
- I acknowledge the influence of Stanley Grentz's Theology for the Community of God, pp.289-292. For me his work was seminal, and helped me begin to think through this issue.
- In short, Jesus, in order to accomplish his mission, had to be a man.
- Not because men are better than women,
- but because otherwise life-bringing his message would have been:
- diluted or obscured
- And the most effective modeling could only take place—in a patriarchal society—by a man.
- Hopefully this perspective will prove useful to you in your evangelism, in answering questions from outsiders but also from insiders.