Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. I’ve told people that it’s easy for me to remember the date, because it is also my sister’s birthday (and by coincidence, she is a woman!).
Last Sunday, I preached a sermon from the passage in Mark 8 where Jesus tells his disciples that he will suffer, be rejected by the authorities, be killed, and finally, rise from the dead. He refers to himself as “the Son of Man,” a title with messianic implications—but which also means “the authentic human.” Here are some excerpts from the sermon:
“Now, I feel that I would be remiss in speaking of the Son of Man if I didn’t comment on Jesus’ being male. He’s not only really human; he’s also really a man. Jesus demonstrates a respect of women that, in his culture, is often scandalous and shocking. (At least, it’s scandalous and shocking to the men who’ve made up the rules!)
“We’ve made some progress since then, but we still have the curse of men making up rules on how women are to be treated. (And no, ladies, I’m not saying this simply as an applause line!) I don’t want to dwell on this, but even in the last couple of weeks, we’ve endured the spectacle of influential men opening their mouths and spewing vile, disgusting things about women and women’s rights.
“In Genesis 3, after God says to the woman the stuff about having pain in childbearing, we read, ‘Your yearning will be for your husband, and he will dominate you’ (v. 16, New Jerusalem Bible). That’s not meant to be a command or a suggestion. It’s a commentary on the sad state of affairs!”
To my fellow men: let’s work to be authentically human—and authentically men—by standing up for our sisters.