Three Taverns Church

Biblical Sexuality – Part 1: A Scandalous Question


I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday and the subject of this blog came up in our conversation. My friend mentioned that he would love to read a series that openly and honestly discusses biblical sexuality; I loved the idea. I don’t know if 21st-century Americans have a good grasp of what it means to be spiritual and sexual disciples of Christ (myself included). I suspect other nations without Puritanical roots have got a better handle on this subject than we do.

Without further ado I would like to begin the series with this question: Was Jesus Christ a virgin?

This question has merit beyond a blatant attempt to grab your attention because asking this question can help Christians come to understand their own sexuality. Have you noticed that we have no biblical model to follow in Christ when resisting sexual temptation? The Gospels give us great examples of Jesus resisting temptation in many other contexts, but not a sexual context. Sexual temptation, indeed understanding the nature and essence of our sexuality, is one of the greatest challenges that faces mankind…and Jesus is not recorded as facing this issue Himself! The silence of the Gospels on such an important topic practically shouts for our attention. Jesus is the One whom Christians seek to model themselves after, and yet there is no model of a sexual Jesus in Scripture. How can this be?

We know almost nothing about the life of Jesus between the ages of 12 and 30, and it is possible that he could have married in that time; the absence of a wife in the Gospels does not preclude her existence.  So let us pretend for a moment that Jesus was married and was sexually active…what does that do to your image of Him? For me, Jesus becomes more human and more understanding of my own struggles with sexuality. If Jesus was sexual then I know He was tempted sexually during His time on earth but was able to resist that temptation. This Jesus is far more encouraging than a Jesus who was never tempted sexually. If we believe God did not step into the most troublesome aspect of our lives while He walked the earth as a man, it’s no wonder it is so difficult for us to invite Him into that same part of our lives today.

The idea that Jesus was sexual might also put to rest the idea of asexual holiness that seems to predominate Christian thinking. It’s as if we believe in the duality of human nature, that we are either sexual or spiritual beings, but never both. By even asking a question about the sexuality of Jesus we allow ourselves the opportunity to talk about spirituality and sexuality in the same healthy context. Without open dialogue regarding Christian sexuality, problems like pornography addiction in the church will only get worse.

What are your thoughts?

8 thoughts on “Biblical Sexuality – Part 1: A Scandalous Question

  1. I believe that Jesus was married. Some say it was to Mary Magdalene…..I don’t know. Nobody knows for sure. But since we are to pattern our lives after his, and he is said to have suffered for all our sins and experienced all we have before us….your post makes perfect sense. I think the reason it is not spoken of is because we do want to keep Jesus up on that high, moral pedestal. We tend to think of ‘sex’ as something dirty and forbidden yet…what were the first commandments Adam and Eve were given in the garden?? Yeah….it is actually something very sacred. Anyway, I degress. The point is, I agree. Good post.

    • Hey ladystamper, thanks for the reply! I don’t know as I support the Mary Magdalene theory…introducing a character into the Gospels without revealing her ‘true identity’ seems a bit shifty…in my mind it’s more plausible that the wife never entered the Gospels at all, either because she passed away before Jesus’ ministry began, or because the authors (and the Holy Spirit) deemed it irrelevant to the purposes of the Gospel. I do agree with you that God invented sex, and it’s supposed to be a sacred thing. Imagining Jesus in a committed, sexual relationship only serves to enhance that image.

  2. You raise an interesting and controversial question my friend. I for one believe that if Jesus was real, then he most certainly would have been sexually active (married) – as that was expected of Jewish Rabbis at the time. And you make the most relevant point – if he was, he becomes more human and therefore we can more easily relate. Excellent post.

    • Hey stuartart, thanks for the insight into Judaism and rabbinical tradition. That’s a subject I’m not too familiar with, and assuming you are correct that would certainly be a factor to consider with regard to the life and person of Jesus.

  3. If we don’t know for sure other than Jesus experienced all of the same temptations that we have, then I would assume Jesus was hetero/homo/poly/non-sexual at some point in his life – he must have been married and even been unfaithful and divorced.

    • Hi Erin, we do know that Jesus lived a sinless life, so if he was sexually active it would have ben as a maried, heterosexual man. We can also be sure that he he did not cheat, and we can be 99.9% sure he wouldn’t have been divorced. thanks for your comment!

  4. Interesting points here. I’ve never really thought much about the possibility of Jesus being married, simply b/c it isn’t addressed in Scripture. But that certainly doesn’t mean He wasn’t. Regardless of marital status, I do believe he faced sexual temptations—and as you point out, that also isn’t mentioned in Scripture. However, a man of his fame, a man who could “read” people (i.e. woman at the well), and a man who attracted such a following could certainly have had his pick. I feel certain there was more than one occasion when a woman expressed interest in him.

    Sex within marriage is indeed sacred. As Becky mentions above….from the beginning God’s plan was for hubs & wives to “be fruitful & multiply.” And Paul gave husbands & wives some pretty straightforward language about meeting the needs of each other—again, another indication that sex in marriage is honoring to God.

    Interesting point you mention about our culture:

    “I don’t know if 21st-century Americans have a good grasp of what it means to be spiritual and sexual disciples of Christ (myself included). I suspect other nations without Puritanical roots have got a better handle on this subject than we do.”

    It raises a lot of questions for me. Outside of the church, I wonder how much current generations are even impacted by our “puritanical roots.” The study of other cultures would be interesting as well.

  5. If nothing else I think the new generation is impacted through their rebellion of the establishment. If the establishment were not Puritanical they would be rebelling to something else (and rebelling in a different direction).

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