Christian men consider the Bible accounts of Jesus life to be nothing less than a history of the life of God incarnate. Secular and non-Christian men often make the mistake of ignoring what must rate as one of the greatest stories ever told because of its religious association. If Christianity were to disappear from the Earth it would not make the Gospels irrelevant any more than the Iliad was made irrelevant by the rejection of the Greek and Roman pantheon. This article presents 7 moments in the life of Jesus with red pill significance for believers and unbelievers alike.
1. Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist
Even the most amazing and talented men need strong male role models and guides. When Jesus was 30 years old he found such a man in John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said “Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.” So it was with John who, presented with a budding religious superstar seeking guidance asked for Jesus to baptise him instead.
Matthew 3:14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Wisely Jesus persisted and respectfully requested the guidance of the more senior man.
Matthew 3:15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
So Jesus was baptized by John and set out on his own career of religious leadership. No one will ever know fully how important a role John played in developing Jesus ideas and skills, but probably he was a significant mentor.
2. The temptation of Christ in the desert
Men need periods of solitude, retreat and contemplation to function at their best. Jesus showed the way when he spent forty days and nights in the desert to steel himself for his upcoming mission. The time must have allowed him to put to rest the kinds of doubts and fears that could haunt a man during such tough times as Jesus knew he had ahead.
Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ ”
Although his internal struggles are represented as temptation by the devil, it is clear that what is really meant was the temptation to take the easy path. Jesus was hungry, why not eat? Jesus was planning a dangerous mission which would probably end in his death, why not just stay quiet? Not all men face such stark choices, but all men have felt the temptation to take the easy, lazy way rather than the challenging but ultimately more meaningful path.
3. The twelve apostles
Every man needs his wing-men no matter what his mission might be. He must draw support and inspiration from them and find men who he can rely on utterly in life’s hardest passages. Jesus expressed his absolute faith in Peter, whose name also means rock in Greek, with a play on words.
Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.
Jesus relationships with his disciples certainly endured some rigorous tests and broadly they held out. Even the most tough and reliable men can display moments of weakness when the pressure is great as Peter did when he denied knowing Jesus after his arrest.
Mark 14:71 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.
Peter’s denial was understandable. The consequence of admitting knowing Jesus was probably death. Jesus later forgave Peter and asked him to “Take care of my sheep.”, meaning his followers. Peter showed the power of the bond between them and the strength of his character by carrying on Jesus mission after his death under daunting conditions.
4. Jesus enters Jerusalem
Nothing really significant can be achieved without at least some risk. Once Jesus had a following there was only one way he could challenge the secular and religious leaders of the Jews. He had to face them on their home ground.
Mark 11:8 Many people spread clothes on the road, while others went to cut branches from the fields. 9 In front of Jesus and behind him, people went along shouting, “Hooray! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 God bless the coming kingdom of our ancestor David. Hooray for God in heaven above!”
By entering Jerusalem proclaimed by the crowd as the King of the Jews Jesus made the ultimate gamble. He signalled that it was now a fight to the death. It is easy to imagine the ecstasy of that moment as Jesus tested himself against the King and Pharisees. Make no mistake though, from that moment on it was victory or death.
5. Mary Magdalene
Women are always drawn to a man who is respected, principled and forges his own path through life. Jesus showed such characteristics and the Gospels hint that he reaped the benefits.
Luke 8:1 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, 2. and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;
He also left a good example of how to handle the inevitable rumors. Despite the conventions of the day he associated with women openly but kept any intimacy discrete. There is no record of attempts to deny or hypocritical posturing. He made no apology to his critics for the fact that women were drawn in by his magnetism.
6. The cleansing of the temple
Sometimes corruption, provocations and insults to a man’s values must be answered. Jesus was moved to express his disgust and contempt when he entered the main temple of Judaism, in Jerusalem and found it filled with livestock and used for commercial activity. He became angry, turned over the money changers tables and drove the livestock from the temple.
Matthew 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Jesus reaction may seem harsh. However, it was an expression of his revulsion of the perversion of the principles and values that the temple represented. Today men are presented with perversions of decency from all manner of “activists”. In the modern west it is harder to know how to respond.
7. The crucifixion
Jesus was ultimately betrayed by one of his disciples and executed by crucifixion. To a man without a mission or a hedonist that might seem to be failure but a man’s mission transcends even death.
A man is like a bullet. He can only ever be sent out into the world one time. He chooses his mission and flies towards his target. He only gets one journey, one chance. He is spent whether he hits the mark or not.
Jesus preached for only 3 years but was the most successful religious leader in the history of the world. He died a horrible death at the young age of 33, but he most certainly hit his mark.