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02/25/12

Was Jesus Tempted Sexually?

Author: Roger Barrier

Dear Roger,

Did Jesus think about having a sexual relationship?

Sincerely, Fred 

Dear Fred,

You have asked a rather controversial question—one that we don’t talk or think much about. Nevertheless, the answer to your question has great relevance in our world today. After all, Jesus was fully human and He experienced everything that we experience—including temptation. So, it is essential that we deal with this question.

Did Jesus ever think about having a sexual relationship? My opinion is, of course, He thought about it. Like most men and boys, I imagine that He thought about it a lot. I have read that most adolescent males think about sex at least once every fifteen minutes, or so. Jesus was once an adolescent.

Many Christians wonder just how close Jesus came to “eating the forbidden fruit.” This question really focuses on whether or not Jesus was capable of sinning. After all, He was God. Could God sin? At first blush, the obvious answer is, “No, God cannot sin.” However, the answer is a little more complex than a simple “yes”, or “no”. I believe that the biblical evidence declares that not only was Jesus temped, He was fully capable of sinning.

In Philippians 2:1-11 Paul composed a melodic poem describing Jesus’s seven steps downward from Heaven to become human and to endure the cross. Then, Paul described Christ’s seven-step exaltation from the resurrection back into Heaven to receive back His glory as fully God.

In verse six Paul declared that in the process of abandoning Heaven, Jesus made Himself “nothing.” The Greek word “kenosis” literally means, “to empty one’s self”—but no one knows exactly what that really means. I think it is safe to say that somehow or other He emptied Himself of some of His “godness” in order to put on “humanness”. He remained 100% God, but also became 100% man. This God and Human union is called the “hypostatic union”. This doctrine is inscrutable. In other words, it is a mystery, incapable of being understood.

I believe that “emptying” Himself opened the door so that He could actually sin (for a more extended interpretation of this concept, read my “Ask Roger Answer” entitled, “Son God or son of man?” on preachitteachit.com.

In my mind, there is no way Jesus could fall into sin as fully God. On the other hand, He certainly could fall into sin in as fully human. After all, if Jesus could not sin, why would Satan bother to tempt Him at the commencement of His earthly ministry (Matthew 4 and Luke 4)? Both gospel writers declared that temptation would follow Jesus all the days of His life; and, they were right.

Furthermore, in describing Jesus’ ministry as our great high priest, the writer to the Hebrews revealed that Jesus endured every temptation (including sexual temptations) that we humans face—without sinning: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). 

The term, “yet without sin,” obviously meant that He was fully capable of falling into sin—but, He didn’t.

We must remember that temptation itself is not sin. Martin Luther wrote, “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head; but, you certainly can keep them from nesting in your hair.”

Let’s look carefully at what Jesus taught about lust in light of Luther’s illustration.

Jesus declared in Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard it said, ‘do not commit adultery’. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 

Looking at a man/woman and appreciating his/her beauty is not a sin. Perhaps even a moment’s imagining a sexual encounter is still not a sin. The sin occurs when we mentally and emotionally dwell upon one particular individual while imagining a drawn out sexual experience with him or her. In this case temptation has evolved into lust. The sin occurs in the long, drawn-out visualizing, not in the thought which comes to mind for a fleeting moment.

Did Jesus think about having a sexual relationship? As fully human, He most certainly did. Both Satan and/or His own humanness obviously “flew the bird of the temptation” over His head. However, according to the Hebrews passage mentioned above, Jesus never allowed that bird “to nest in His hair”.

Some imagine that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who tempted Jesus to have a sexual relationship with her. For example, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, by Nikos Kazantzakis postulates that Mary Magdalene, “out of whom Jesus cast seven demons” (Luke 8:2), was His temptress, at least, and more probably, His girlfriend.

I don’t believe that. However, I do believe that whatever lifestyle she lived before meeting Christ was dramatically changed by her spiritual encounter with Him. She became a devoted follower and financial contributor to His ministry who witnessed the crucifixion, prepared His body for burial and was the first to hear the good news of the resurrection!

So far, we have discussed the idea of Jesus having a sinful sexual relationship. Without a doubt, He did not.

Because Jesus was like us, I am certain that He experienced the internal, God-implanted-sexual drive to procreate and thus fulfill His Father’s command to be “fruitful and fill the whole earth.” Therefore, I believe that He must have considered marriage as a viable option.

Dan Brown imagines, in his contemporary novel, “The “Da Vinci Code”, that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered children by her. He intertwines this concept with the legend of the “Holy Grail”. However, these claims have no basis in biblical truth.

Could Jesus have married if He wanted? Could Jesus have had children if He had married? Some Christians answer “yes” to both questions. Personally, I have difficulty saying “yes” to either question.

I believe that whatever Jesus thought about marriage or children—if He thought about it at all—was quickly dismissed. His mission was to “bring many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10), not to marry and procreate. Jesus made it clear that the “Son of Man came to seek and to save those who were Lost.” This God-inspired calling far outweighed the distraction and any possible fulfillment He might have gained from having His own wife and children. Would He have liked to be married? Possibly. Were marriage and children God’s will for His life? Certainly not. 

Well, Fred, thanks for asking such an intriguing question. I hope my answer gives several thought provoking and helpful insights to you and others about the sexual life of Jesus.

Love, Roger


Comments

Dear Roger,

Here is a question regarding something that I have always struggled with: How can a person serve God, live a holy-righteous life, and be a suffering servant being led solely by the Holy Spirit and not by the flesh? I find myself so often doing something with the wrong motives and then just feeling like giving up.

Thanks

Peter
Peter Watson , 08/17/10 10:59 AM
@ Peter... Do not give up! =)
When you're tempted to do something for the wrong reason... stop. Don't do it. As far as I'm concerned, if you're doing something for the wrong reason, even if it's for a good thing, you shouldn't do it.. You won't reap the rewards of a good deed, etc if you do it for the wrong purpose! Examine yourself and your motives closely, yes, examining your motive in all things is a very wise thing to do =) Ask God in prayer to help you, to cleanse your heart,and to show you yourself.. your own motives..

Whatever you do though... never give up.
Dusti , 02/07/11 02:01 AM
Well, this piece did and didn't answer my question regarding this issue. Kudos to you for trying tour best to do so however-haha.

My issue is that if a guy has had past lust issues and pre-marital sexual relations, and the Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way just as we were then I have never heard anyone enlighten me to this answer on HOW exactly Jesus was tempted sexually.

If he felt every temptation we, as men (and yes woman) felt, then how did he in Biblical terms experience sexual temptation like we do? I know a lot of people, including myself, that have had lustful and sexual temptation barrage us everyday. I know that one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control but how can we learn how to have self-control if we don't know fully and/or exactly how Jesus overcame this same temptation if he was fully God and could not sin? We, as humans, are not fully God in any way, so from what examples of Jesus are we supposed to follow if there is no biblical evidence of Jesus overcoming any sexual desire or temptation?

May I also clarify, I am not questioning anything relative to Jesus' deity or power to overcome sin, I am just wanting to know HOW Jesus over came sexual sin, if there is any Biblical evidence? Thank you
Brent Smith , 11/15/12 07:44 PM
Hi Brent. Someone even lesser than Jesus managed to do that. Joseph. His solution was to run away from the object of his temptation. (Potiphar's wife)
And I think Job made a covenant with his eyes... probably meaning he choose to never look where he shouldn't.
The same solution won't always work for every person. We're wired differently.

Most of Jesus' temptations probably happened during his years of growing up. (He started His miracles when He was about 30?) So the only ones we learn of were probably His biggest ones in His life.

search for "How to Deal with Your Sexual Addiction" in google. (first link). posting URL's here don't seem to work - otherwise i would've posted it.

That page has excellent tips about this issue.
Wimpie Ratte , 12/28/12 07:31 PM
Brent, you are asking 2 different questions; how was Jesus tempted and how did Jesus overcome temptation (how can we). I'll try to Answer both. But before that, I'm sure there is a difference between lust and temptation. Temptation is thrown in front of us by satan, lust is our acceptance of that sin, our beginning of desire. So how was Jesus tempted? I assume the same way nowadays; a scantily clad woman walked in front of Jesus (for an example), or (dont kill me or condemn me) He was tempted when His aunt bent over to pick something off the ground, a lot of adolescent boys see that one :( ... That is temptation. Lust is when we think "I sure want to bed her etc etc etc"

Now for the most important part. How did he overcome? Dunno ;) How can we overcome? Pray, get in the habit of praying when you feel sin. The first time you try you will fail. Second time you'll succeed, third fail, fourth fail, fifth succeed, so on and so forth eventually getting to 100%. Along with prayer, living everyday with the Holy Spirit will help to even block the temptation before you even feel it. This I can attest to; been nearly a month without porn, couldn't even go 2 days without. I forgotten almost that porn exist, the temptation is nearly 0 (now I must go and pray for continued protection and strength.

So last but not least, how do we live in the Holy Spirt? Pray and worship our Lord several times a day, start studying your bible (not just reading), ask for strength, wisdom, and understanding. Fellowship with other believers (Romans 1:11-12) fellowship can include going paint balling with some other Christian guys, getting a nice lunch and having a clean conversation about ANYTHING.
David Smith , 04/15/13 05:01 AM
This post really helped me in a special way, I'm young 20 to be exact, and I have been struggling from sexual desires since I was young. I used to figure it was maybe to the fact that I was just a young boy and mate I would grow out of it. As I got olde it just got worst. Then again I also thought maybe the reason I was dealing with such strong sexual desires was because I was moleated my many men growing up but I didn't want to put the blame on them... Now my grandfathers a Pastor and my grandmother a First Lady... I been in church ALL MY LIFE! I love The Lord dearly and I want to overcome this. I pray and ask god to help me with this but let's be real temptation feels soooooo gooooooooood! Anyways the post really helped me cause as a young Christian I can see that Jesus set the perfect example to overcome it... Pray for me & ill do the same god bless
Marcus Wills , 05/29/13 08:09 PM
Hey roger, so I'm engaged to be married and my fiance and I are having trouble keeping our hands off each other, he suggested that masterbation is not a sin I say it is, his argument is that its not a sin as long as we don't keep our focus off of God. Now please correct me if I am wrong, if we are supposed to be focused on the bible and instead fufilling our self needs isn't that a sin?
heidi , 05/30/13 08:48 PM
Dear Heidi,
My rule is that you never start something that you cannot finish with purity before God.Masturbation may encompass one person but impurity enters when another person is involved.
Roger Barrier , 06/24/13 07:43 PM
My comment is about the "Is masterbation a sin?" When you masterbate, it's what you are thinking/ seeing that would be a sin, right? We're not supposed to lust after others and all that. Isn't it physically impossible to masterbate while "imagining a white wall" per say. So the sin would be in what we were thinking, not necessarily what we were doing physically... Just my opinion :)
Jess Hottinger , 12/09/13 11:29 PM

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