JESUS’ ATTITUDE TO SEXUALITY
Jesus regards sexual sins as something ordinary. In the eighth chapter of the Gospel according to John, we have the episode of a woman taken in adultery. Our Lord not only does not condemn the woman but does not even show any shock, horror or dismay. He does not see anything extraordinary or unusual about her condition. He simply asks her if no one has condemned her and assures her that he too is not going to condemn her. He sends her away in peace after asking her not to sin again (Jn 8:3-11). The ordinariness of the scene deserves special attention especially when we consider that Jesus was dealing here with a person taken in adultery.
Jesus’ dealing with the irregularly married Samaritan woman is amazing (Jn 4:7-42). First of all, he violated the code by speaking to her – a code that was twice as binding on a rabbi. Jesus shocked his male followers by even taking a drink from her, since Samaritan women were considered ritually unclean and menstruant from the cradle on. On top of all this, Jesus goes on to give her his first unequivocal revelation in John’s Gospel of his Messiahship: “I who speak to you am he” (Jn 4:26). Then, even while taking note of her notorious matrimonial record, Jesus goes on to commission her as an apostle to her village. Just as the other apostles left their nets and professional apparatus, she left her water pot and preached and “through her word” many carne to believe in Jesus. The text puts this woman in the same witnessing role as the disciples at the last supper.
Another woman, notorious for her bad life, came to Jesus as he sat at a feast (Lk 7:37-50). He allowed her to wash his feet with her tears, wipe them with her hair and anoint them with costly ointment. This shocked the Pharisee who was Jesus’ host who contemptuously thought that if Jesus were a prophet he would have known what kind of woman she was. Jesus, knowing his thoughts, spoke to him about debtors who were forgiven by the creditor. Her sins which were many were forgiven because she had loved much.
Jesus denounced un-charitableness and pride more fiercely than even adultery and prostitution. If so, what to say of masturbation! Unqualified condemnation of all lack of love and mercy is the characteristic of Jesus. He bitterly denounced the Scribes and the Pharisees as hypocrites, brood of vipers, and whitened sepulchres because of their un-charitableness and pride. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find Jesus showing similar severity towards sexual offenders even of the most serious sort. He not only does not show severity but shows exceptional mercy: “Go, and do not sin again” (Jn 8:11), “Let ‘him, who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (Jn 8:7), “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming” (Jn 4:21), “Give me a drink” (Jn 4:7), “her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much” (Lk 7:47), “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Lk 7:50).
– P. Bhyju cmf