He Wasn't Just Talking About Me

Ed Shaw 1 year ago
Blog 2 mins

As a celibate, gay Christian I have often taken great comfort from Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:12:

‘For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others – and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.’

I have so appreciated Jesus’ acknowledgement of my choice to stay celibate, to live like a eunuch, because of my allegiance to his kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. I’ve loved the sense that he was talking about someone like me, even as he defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, and lifelong (Matthew 19:3-9). Wonderfully, I’m not left out in the cold as Jesus reaffirms the clear teaching of Genesis 2: my reality is addressed directly by him. 

But it’s taken me quite a while to realise that Jesus wasn’t just talking about me. He was surely, implicitly, talking about himself as well. In a culture in which all his contemporaries would have been married off, he too made the choice to stay celibate ‘for the sake of the kingdom of heaven’.

And that similar choice has been costly for both of us in similar ways. The choice to ‘live like a eunuch’ does not mean the absence of sexual desire or temptation: celibacy is not a superpower either of us were given, but it is a daily choice to deny ourselves things we were wired to want. Saying ‘No!’ to sex is not easy for any sexual being – and Jesus was as much of a sexual creature, a human being, as I am. But he made that choice for me, which is a great motivation for me to keep making that choice for him.