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Unchivalrous Jesus.

August 2, 2019

Commenter Opus wrote:

Now, as all who read here are Christians, I need hardly remind y’all that Jesus never slut-shamed. He did however when a woman came to him full of genuine contrition asking for forgiveness say to her that her sins were given and that she should go away and sin no more.

I would urge Opus to not overlook the incident in John 4 with the Samaritan woman, where He slut shamed her by asking her a question He already knew the answer to (John 4:15-18, ESV):

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

This is not the only example in the Gospels of Jesus being strikingly unchivalrous.  Consider the case of the Canaanite woman (Mat 15:22-28, ESV):

22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Consider also the case of the woman with menstrual bleeding who touched his robe and was healed.  The only chivalrous thing to do would have been to leave it at that.  But Jesus wouldn’t let it go until she publicly submitted to Him and declared what her malady was (Luke 8:43-48, ESV):

43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians,[f] she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter[g] said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Lastly, see John 2, where Jesus reminds his own mother of her proper place before performing a miracle she requests (John 2:2-5, ESV):

2 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

This last example has the potential to bring out the different perspectives of Protestants and Catholics.  This isn’t my intent, but it is instructive that both groups feel the need to explain why Christ would speak to His mother in such a way.  Protestants see him reminding her of his place as a sharp rebuke.  For from a chivalrous mind frame it is quite jarring.

I don’t know if the RCC has formal doctrine on this specific question, but here is what Joe Heschmeyer at Shameless Popery writes on the topic:

There is another interpretation, however: that Jesus is cautioning her. Mary has come to Christ with an implicit request for a miracle. Jesus responds by addressing her as “Woman.” A lot could be said of that title, and its implications for Mary as the New Eve (it’s the name that Adam first gives to Eve in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2:23). For now, though, it’s sufficient to recognize that it’s not rude to call Mary “Woman”: Jesus does this again on the Cross (John 19:26-27) and Paul does it in Galatians 4:4, and in both places, it’s unambiguously positive.

I’ll reiterate that my intent here isn’t to poke at the Protestant Catholic divide.  Quite the opposite, my intent is to show that both Protestants and Catholics currently feel the need to explain why Jesus would respond to His mother the way He did in the first place.  Both explain that what seems unchivalrous really isn’t, but using different rationalizations.

See Also:  Call me unchivalrous.

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Title Unchivalrous Jesus.
Author Dalrock
Date August 2, 2019 6:13 PM UTC (4 years ago)
Blog Dalrock
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