1.       Adam had a will to obey.

2.       Adam had work to do.

3.       Adam had a woman to love and care for.

These were Adam’s responsibilities as a man. But we know from Genesis 3 that Adam failed on each of these counts in one fell swoop. Standing under the boughs of a forbidden tree, he refused to obey God’s will and he “checked out” instead of doing the hard work of manly leadership; in utter selfishness he refused to protect his wife from the serpent’s seductive advances and then blamed her. His mistakes come down to one simple theme: he lost his masculine focus, and without it he became passive. Sadly, this passive masculinity is part of the sin that has been passed down through the ages.

Generations later we find a second Adam, literally, “the second man” – Jesus. The Gospels make clear that Jesus is God the Son, the Creator of the universe, and humanity’s only hope for salvation. But they also make sure we know Jesus was a man: flesh and blood, mind and heart – like every other man who ever lived. And as history’s second Adam, Jesus unveiled a new vision of masculinity even as His life paralleled the life of the first Adam with the same three responsibilities:

1.       Jesus had a will to obey.

2.       Jesus had a work to do.

3.       Jesus had a woman to love and care for.

Like Adam, Jesus the man was obligated to submit to the will and work of God. He also had a woman to love. Scripture calls her the bride of Christ. She is the church – every Christian throughout the generations. So how did Jesus’ new masculinity supersede Adam’s failed one?

As with Adam, Jesus’ greatest test took place in a garden. Would He allow Himself to be betrayed, captured, beaten, crucified, and separated from the Father to pay the price for the sins of everyone else? Or would he slip away into the darkness and protect Himself, as the human part of His nature was screaming at Him to do? It was the moment for both His life and His masculinity. All of His God-given responsibilities came together during a night of grief and betrayal. Set before Him was God’s way, and, of course, the other option we all have… my way. Jesus’ understanding of His humanity and masculinity called Him to submit to His Father’s will even though it would cost Him unspeakable agony and death. Adam’s example, on the other hand, offered Him another option: choose selfishness and passivity over responsibility.

You know how the story ends. To paraphrase Romans 5: 15, through one man (Adam) the world cascaded into death, but through a second man (Jesus), the way of salvation and new life was opened to all. So while Adam failed in his manhood test in the Garden of Eden, Jesus triumphed with His in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Not as I will, but as You will,” He cried (Matt. 16: 39). Rejecting passivity, He selflessly loved His bride and bravely took a stand for His responsibilities even though it cost Him everything. Jesus obeyed the Father’s call because He trusted the Father’s promise that the suffering of the cross was a necessary part of the journey to greater glory. “For the joy set before Him,” Jesus endured the cross, Hebrews 12:2 says. In the end Jesus’ courageous leadership showed all men what the first man’s didn’t: God’s will, however difficult it may appear or feel at any given moment, ultimately results in a richer, more abundant life and greater reward. This was the vision Jesus held into in modeling a thoroughly masculine life.

So it’s in bringing Adam and Jesus together that we discover true biblical manhood. By noting the parallels between these two towering masculine figures, their points of departure, and the different responses each had to his specific manhood responsibilities, we can create a biblical definition of manhood: