‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ Genesis 3:10
One of the most glorious benefits of following Jesus is living in light of the cross which takes away our shame and enables us to live authentically, being loved as we are, not as we think we should be.
This is radical in light of the havoc that sin has caused in us, causing us to hide in shame and cover-up, as our first ancestor Adam did in Genesis 3:10. Forgive the gross stereotype, but for men particularly, this cover-up is innate and insidious.
John Eldredge in his book Wild at Heart puts it this way: “You don’t need a course in psychology to understand men … We are hiding, every last one of us. Well aware that we, too, are not what we are meant to be, desperately afraid of exposure, terrified of being seen for what we are and are not, we have run off into the bushes … Most of what you encounter when you meet a man is a facade, an elaborate fig leaf, a brilliant disguise.”
While he may be overstating things, I believe that Eldridge is onto something.
Enter Jesus, who came to take away our fig leaves. Think with me for a minute how radically authentic Jesus was with just three examples:
- In a world in which real men didn’t cry, Jesus wept.
- In a world in which masculine men didn’t identify with women, Jesus compared himself to a hen (Matthew 23:37) and his Father to a woman who lost a coin (Luke 15:8-10).
- In a weapon-wielding world, Jesus told Peter his sword was out of place.
Knowing this, we can better appreciate that Jesus willingly laid down his “man-card” (the Roman cultural understanding of masculinity) for us. In Jesus’ mind, love trumped everything. Indeed, Jesus relinquished status in man’s eyes for the glory of God. He voluntarily endured the humiliation of nakedness, beating, and violent death in a world in which a man could suffer no greater insult to His manhood.
Later, Paul would look to this very example of Jesus when describing what the Spirit-filled male householder should look like. Not only was the Christian husband to offer up his bodily rights (1 Corinthians 7), but he was to lay down his very life (Ephesians 5) for his wife.
Jesus had nothing to hide. He would not submit to earthly definitions of identity and status because he was convinced of the only identity and status that mattered: being loved and accepted by His Heavenly Father. This weekend we will all be encouraged, but especially the men as we look at how Jesus encourages us all to drop our fig leaves and live authentically in community. I can’t wait to share this message with you.
Also, this weekend, Ian, our final of three candidates for our Worship Pastor position, will be leading worship at 9:05 and 11:00. Please continue to pray for this selection process and come on time to those gatherings. I look forward to being together this weekend.
I love being your pastor!