Real Men Do Cry

John 11:35

It isn’t easy being male in our politically correct society. From early pre-adolescent manhood, we learn that real men don’t cry and according to one book, real men don’t eat quiche either.

Other unwritten rules create a false impression of manhood. Besides having an instinctive compulsion to channel surf, not cry and not eat quiche, real men never ask directions. They never admit that they are wrong. Mistaken, yes; misinformed, definitely—wrong, no way. And while Mom can cry, Dad is only permitted to get angry.

Like many kids, whenever I was compelled to recite a Scripture verse from memory, I relied upon John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” As the shortest verse in the Bible, it’s a lifesaver. But this verse also reveals part of Jesus’ character that real men can emulate.

Artists have often portrayed Jesus in an almost too gentle, semi-effeminate way. But remember, He was a carpenter in the days before power tools and did the woodwork by hand. By the time He left Joseph’s workshop to begin His ministry, Jesus probably had calluses galore, since much of His time was spent in hard work.

Perhaps we get the soft side of Jesus from the Christmas carol that speaks of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” Let me assure you, there was no stunt double at the cross. The nails and spear were deadly and the agony real. Jesus carried a tree trunk across town while bruised and bleeding and was nailed to it. No one could challenge His manhood. When confronted by jeering accusers, He spoke of kindness and forgiveness in spite of the brutality He was facing. That beats anything a cinema tough guy can do.

Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus His friend and, contrary to male myth, asked for directions. “Where have you laid the body?” (John 11:34). There He wept for the death of a friend, for the result of sin and for generations to come who would need a Savior.

I admit that I do mist up a bit at times when I am moved. But I can’t ever approach the depth of feeling that Jesus experienced when He wept for me and my sin long before I was born.

Jesus was a real man and not the armor-plated, two-dimensional caricature of a Savior some would have us believe. He was tough and gentle, loving and strong. A man’s man.

A. Kenneth Wilson, The War Cry

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