Catholic Sistas » perspective from the neck

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Jesus Big and Tall

Ever think about what Jesus was like when he lived? I mean what he looked like.  I have wondered about this quite often, especially in trying to make Him identifiable to my teenage sons.  I believe he was the epitome of masculinity—everything a man should be.  I envision a man who had a BIG presence—attractive, tall, muscular, strong.  Jesus was a carpenter before there were power tools, and He walked miles and miles in the desert heat.  He was weather worn and beautiful—a man who worked hard with his hands.  I picture a man who is larger than life.  He came as a man on purpose; the Father sent His SON.  I believe this should tell men that it is okay to be men.  Masculinity is desirable; men are meant to be strong and powerful, just as Jesus was.  What I do not visualize is a “hippy Jesus,” a wimpified version of a man.  Sure, He is often depicted as having long hair and wearing a gown, but the Jesus I imagine is not anything like this.  What makes us imagine Jesus as a doormat?  I do not buy into the depiction of a weak Jesus who “turned the other cheek.”  He wanted peace but was not a doormat who lived in fear.  He dared those who were against Him to give Him the best they had; He could take it.  He confronted powerful figures; he let sinners know they were wrong; he was a commander.  The Jesus I imagine was one who overturned tables in the temple and roared with the presence of a lion.  He had fortitude and might.  I feel comfort in a masculine ideal of God.  My sons desire a strong figure to emulate who uses love as strength, not weakness.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our[b] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these,[c] take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17)

About Charla

Charla is a life-long Catholic, married since 1995. She has three children who attend Catholic school and university. Charla has been teaching high school English literature at the same Catholic high school she attended for over 15 years. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Latin American Studies, and Secondary Education, as well as a Masters degree in Education. Charla has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at her parish and school. She enjoys reading, cooking, running, and all activities involving her children. Her special devotions are to the Blessed Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Holy Rosary.

  • Gina Nakagawa - Exactly what I have taught and felt for my entire adult life. Jesus came to us as a *man*. He is the most manly of all men in the best sense of the term. I could not follow and adore Christ, the Wussy. Although I do not see him as the first image in the article, because He submitted Himself to the agony and horror of crucifixion for our sake, I certainly see Him in the second depiction. This is an excellent article, and deserves wide distribution. I certainly will share it!January 23, 2013 – 9:11 amReplyCancel

  • Charla - Gina, Yeah the first image I thought was a little silly, but I liked how it depicted Christ as strong– physically strong; he certainly was humbled while he hanged on the cross, but nevertheless, overcomes the crucifixion.
    In Christ,
    CharlaJanuary 23, 2013 – 11:40 amReplyCancel

  • Erin Pascal - Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post! I am one of those who picture Jesus Christ as a man “having long hair and wearing a gown.” Now, I have a new depiction of my Savior–“attractive, tall, muscular, strong.” But however Jesus may have really looked like, He will still remain to me as the only man worthy of admiration and emulation.January 24, 2013 – 7:00 amReplyCancel

  • Martina - I love this visual. 🙂January 24, 2013 – 10:02 amReplyCancel

  • Kerri - Charla, what a wonderful image to give us. I always feel safe with a strong masculine man around, and this is definitely the image of Christ that I want. Also, you have a great gift of making huge points with few words. Such a great example to some of us more wordy ladies (who me?). LOL! Love it!!January 24, 2013 – 1:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - I wonder if you’d still have this vision of Christ if you had a child who was Autistic and constantly bullied. Would you focus on Jesus overturning the tables if you had a child with a physical disability such as paralysis or a heart issue? I understand where you are coming from, and we do need more men around. Jesus’ muscles, however, were not what made him a man. It was his complete trust in God that made him a man. Pope Benedict XVI states in one of his Jesus of Nazareth books, “Christ ruled from the cross.” Christ was weak when he ruled, though strong in his convictions. Any depiction of Christ as a muscular man who was attractive comes dangerously close to describing Nietzsche’s Ubermensch. Just a thought.January 25, 2013 – 4:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Michelle - I will have to politely disagree Dana. I have a son who has many medical problems, including heart defects that will haunt him his entire life. His medical conditions have kept him from doing the things “normal” kids do. He was constantly bullied when he was younger and so weak and scrawny. He was thrown into a concrete sewer and suffered a concussion before it was all over and the parents of these kids were held accountable. However, these issues he has doesn’t mean he can’t look up to those who are muscular and “manly” (as society views manly) including a “manly” Jesus. The reason, a man can be manly and still have a heart of service and a heart that loves. They are not in contrast. However, the wimpy version of Jesus that society has forced down our throats is NOT the Jesus that would have lived and taught way back when. There is no harm at all in envisioning a strong Jesus, even when our own boys are not built that way.January 29, 2013 – 6:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - I too have heart problems, and have neurological issues. I am sorry for what your son has gone through. While I was never assaulted as he was, I was verbally bullied and shunned because I was new in town, I could not do things the other students did, and because I was too different. The bullying almost drove me to suicide. During this time, I contemplated Jesus carrying the cross, and took comfort in Jesus being able to relate to my weakness. I never considered him weak in his convictions; rather I viewed him as someone who could relate to all weakness and would embrace all in spite of their weakness. A muscular attractive Jesus would’ve seemed like another bully, and may have driven me away from the faith. Since God is infinite and has many different assets of Him I suppose we could both be right about Jesus. Still, I believe in focusing on the strength of Jesus’ spirit, and not on the strength of his body.January 29, 2013 – 9:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Son of man - Hello sons and daughters of the one true living God, please ask our heavenly Father to bless you with wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discer
    nment.June 7, 2015 – 9:27 pmReplyCancel

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