Jesus, marriage and equality

By Jeff Smith
Special to The PREVIEW

Jesus and the Christian faith teach certain ethics that make life better.

Perhaps the single most important story in scripture is Jesus of Nazareth in the garden just before he was taken away to die. It is sort of a crossroads of the Bible’s many themes of hope, redemption, salvation, good versus evil and others. One such theme appears in that moment Jesus prays and says, “… Not my will, but yours be done” (Matthew 26:39.)

For those who don’t know this, Christians believe that Jesus was God Himself walking among us. Yet, He prayed to God like the rest of us. Yet, unlike us, He was also equal with God (John 8:58, John 10:30). This tells us is that equals can submit to each other and remain equal, submission and equality being held in a sort of balance.

The Apostle Paul furthered the idea when he told the new church to submit to each other (Ephesians 5:21) without regard to the rank they had elsewhere.

A good way to see this, centuries later, is to think of a state trooper who pulls a woman over for speeding. Later that trooper attends a night class and finds that woman is now his teacher. She has the right to tell him his test score deserves a B. On the road, he is in charge. You can build a great faith, a great church or a great nation on this idea.

To relate to each other as equals is better than having one boss or king who is better than the rest of us. It is, however, a harder and more complex thing to do. It is also easy to get it wrong. Some who prefer to inflame rather than explain point to the next verse in Ephesians 5:22, where it says, “wives submit your selves to your husbands” and only see “husbands make that woman obey you.” They miss the idea that in a marriage of equals, someone must break the tie. When she follows, short of doing wrong, it is based on conscience, not weakness. Her value is unchanged.

Jesus gives us many ideas that help people flourish. It is foolish to remove Him from debate in the public square. In some ways, it is Jesus that gives us that public square and debate in the first place.

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This story was posted on August 10, 2017.