Dream word – PREPARE
“He said to them, ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.’ His disciples said to Him, ‘If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ But He said to them, ‘All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.’” NKJV.
Of genitalia and gender, or the lack of both!
In my final of three thoughts on sexuality, may I say again tonight, that these texts about eunuchs, do not speak directly to transsexual issues but rather, they speak directly to sexual celibacy, both as a gift and as a practice. Let me explain.
In our Bible text for tonight, the response of the blokey disciples to the instructions of Jesus here regarding marriage and both its demands and difficulties, placed next to divorce and all its inherent and serious repercussions, is one of, “Bloomin’ Nora! Best not even go there then!” Jesus immediately responds to them by highlighting the great difficulties of such a fearful and negative statement. “Unless the gift of celibacy has been given”He says, “....you will never be able to not get married.”In other words, in us all, there is a driving imperative for physical union. Now, as sex outside of marriage was never even contemplated by Jesus, it is the good sex drive as expressed within marriage then that He is talking about here. So in effect then, JESUS goes on saying, “You can’t give up sex, unless celibacy has been given to you and accepted by you as a gift.” Jesus then highlights celibacy in this text, by describing three classes of eunuch, that is, the three classes of men who have no testicles, and in terms of procreation then, have no real capacity for sexual intercourse in marriage, which is what He is actually talking about.
“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and…”
Jesus acknowledges that there are natural Eunochs, and please note here that I use the word natural somewhat reluctantly. Even so, here I believe Jesus is referring primarily to an involuntary but natural and literal absence of male genitalia. This happens! And Jesus here seems to see this as an opportunity for such folk to better embrace the focused Kingdom life. I do not think Jesus here is referring to those folks who are born inter-sexed or androgynous. I will deal with that later.
“there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men,…”
Jesus acknowledges that there are artificial eunuchs. This is the involuntary removal of male genitalia, so that the dispossessed might better serve the robbers. For without testosterone they would have less strength to rebel, and as there would be no children born to them, then there was little chance of future blood vengeance, and certainly no chance of the implantation of their seed placed into the women of put into their charge. Jesus acknowledged the existence of this type of person. They were a people without sexual choice.
Their condition was imposed upon them. Even so, again Jesus here seems to see this as an opportunity for such folk to better embrace the focused Kingdom life.
“and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake.”
Jesus acknowledges that there are eunuchs by choice. For sure, the choice Jesus refers to here does not lead to a transsexual turning. No, this choice must not lead to mutilation, as His reference was not to literal castration here but to a figurative one. Though I acknowledge that a literal interpretation and subsequent wrong choice was made by Origen and many others in the early church, who stupidly chose to mutilate their manhood and all its underlying passions, so as to live what they considered to be a more holy and a more pure life. By the way, Origen later repented of this early and fanatical choosing of losing.
No, this is a figurative choice which Jesus is talking about in this part of the verse, and it is not a choice rooted in the drives of gender confusion, or of cultural manipulation or of the fleeing of right or wrong sexual urges. No, this is a positive choice (though not for me, for I cannot accept it) of laying aside the passions of procreation and recreation for the sake of the Kingdom of God. That is, to forsake the many energies, passions, and personal time enjoyed in personal relationships and then to refocus that redeemed energy, time and passion, putting it to good use for the Kingdom, seeing it blossom in terms of a closer relationship with God, in terms of the conception and creation of Kingdom dreams, Kingdom peoples, Kingdom processes, Kingdom procedures and Kingdom products of every kind!
“He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
Like I said, I personally am not able to accept it. However, I know of some who are, though not that many, for sure. The apostle Paul had the gift of celibacy. Now listen, for often times, being single and waiting to be married is like living the eunuch life! This is not so much a choice but a necessity. It is only for a period of time however, until marriage most happily occurs. Without the gift of celibacy this kind of waiting singleness can become a nightmare unless the Kingdom of God is sought most thoroughly during the time you are waiting and seeking to be married.
Being not able to accept being a eunuch, I am also very fortunate not to have had this challenge of “castration” imposed upon me in terms of the foul physical, selfish actions of others, or in terms of the out workings of this particular manifestation of sexual death through one of the by products of the presence of original sin. No, I have a whole bunch of other emasculating challenges to battle against! Neither have I had to accept the damage imposed upon me by the side effects of various drugs intended initially to do good. I am chiefly talking here of the effects of Diethylstilbestrol, though not totally so. Yes, we do need to acknowledge the presence of many folks in our world, whose human “firmware” has been damaged both by drug use and the out-workings of original sin.
In these cases for sure, medical technology can aid gender assignment or even gender re-assignment, but it can never justify sin and continuing to live in sin. When local churches increasingly become presented with such emasculated folk, then each case of broken humanity must be judged by the local church leadership, in grace, in truth, in clarity, and with the gingerness of a cat with big paws walking through an overpopulated minefield. Unfortunately there are still three things the church cannot allow itself to let its guard down on.
There is a need to put in place, local church constitutional guidelines and practices that are redemptive in root and flower, to so guide local bodies of churches in dealing with such rising and challenging matters.
These are challenging days intowhich we wake, challenging nights in which we lay our wearyheads. Let’s walk wisely. Let’s not mince in anyway. That means walking Biblically, that means walking in grace and truth and in strength and courage.
Listen: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:11-13 NKJV)
Pray: Lord, this celibate life is certainly no gift to me. Though I cannot accept it, I pray tonight for those who have accepted this strange gift. Strengthen them O Lord, and fill up in them all that is lacking in procreation peace and prosperity, that your Kingdom through their efforts would come all the quicker and all the more, in Jesus name we pray, amen.
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