There’s this solitary passage in the gospel in which Jesus is being questioned by the religious rulers. They were trying to trick him in order to bring accusation and discredit his way. The issue raised was about marriage and divorce. Jesus gave them a thing or two to think about which seemed to shut them up nicely but this exchange led even his disciples to afterwards say to him that they felt that according to what he had just said it would be better not to marry at all.
Straight off the bat Jesus responds by doing one of those things that has always amazed me.
No, he doesn’t turn to the latest publication on “How To Re-Grow Your Waning Church And Get The Cash-Flow Positive Again” penned by some super-apostle of the day with a ridiculously expensive suit supported by a totally unnatural hairstyle, but strangely, instead of simplifying the issue and bringing comfort and resolve to a clearly disturbed band of followers Jesus seems to pose another very unusual and even perplexing riddle.
Firstly, he doesn’t lay down a law but instead suggests that some will not be able to accept what this all means anyway. In fact he declares that only those who receive it from heaven will be able to embrace what he is about to say (this being perhaps one of Jesus’ first Gnostic alignments). He then launches off into the touchy subject of castration, specifically the issue of eunuchs.
Some eunuchs he says, are born completely without testes or with testes that are non functional.
Others, he goes on to say, are made eunuchs (castrated) by men.
A third group he reveals, are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.
He then rounds off this unusual explanation by re-emphasizing his earlier suggestion that if there is anyone able to receive it, let him receive it.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
What really interests me in this response is the background to the second example Jesus gave.
From what I understand man-made eunuchs were usually emasculated or castrated males employed as harem attendants in royal courts. Possibly this practice prevented the male attendants of the royal harem from being able to enter in and derive personal pleasure and gratification from those promised or actually wed to the king. Surely being a mortal amongst a bevy of beautiful women had its very real temptations so the drastic deed was done to prevent physical access to the kings treasured possession.
The third category is perhaps even more compelling as it suggests that for the sake of the kingdom of heaven some emasculate themselves. This suggests a personal decision which is seemingly made independent of external pressure or demand.
In my last blog posting ( http://wp.me/p10VG6-m8 ) I suggested a link between a real friend and a best man who prepares and protects the bride of their friend for no personal advantage other then the joy of hearing his voice and fulfilling his pleasure.
We live in a world where political prestige and power and all the privileges these things can offer has washed into and even saturated so called “ministry.” Our spiritual leaders are pop stars and celebrities. They are the kings, not servants of kings. They seem to so willingly receive the cream from an adoring multitude beneath their feet.
I wonder how many present day “ministers” have even metaphorically considered being in the service of the king of heaven for reasons other than their own personal pleasure and gratification?
I’m sure there are perhaps many, but they are seldom if ever seen or heard of and that because they are real friends, real servants, real “ministers.”