I think someone needs to write a book titled, “We’ve Emasculated Jesus!” Maybe the subtitle could be, “And I Doubt He’s Happy About It.” I actually have a chapter in my book coming out in February where I make the case that our picture of what Jesus was like really isn’t that different from Elmo. And that would be fine, and kind of cute, except that it’s so drastically far from truth.
Yes, Jesus was loving and caring, but He was also a tough, confrontational, revolutionary leader, and we see that in today’s reading (Matthew 15). Jesus is accosted by perhaps the most intimidating group in that time, the Pharisees and teachers of the law, and He gets in their faces and doesn’t back down for a second. Even going so far as to publicly humiliate them.
Then we see Him saying, to His best friend, “Are you still so dull?” (Interestingly, when I say things like that to people they tell me I’m being un-Christ-like.)
We then see Him challenging a needy woman rather than just immediately helping her.
None of that looks like Elmo to me. But it doesn’t look “mean” to me either. Actually, it looks like love because sometimes that’s what love looks like.