7 comments on “The Bible and Nakedness – Part 11 – The Gospels and Acts

  1. You know, in reference to Jesus being naked on the cross, I’ve given this some thought. Jesus was publicly exposed, and yet He never sinned. This seems pretty clear to me that simply being nude in front of others is not sinful.

    It does hearken back to the Garden of Eden, when Adam was ashamed of his nakedness when he became aware of his sin, but Jesus never sinned. If the saying that He bore our sins on the cross means He literally became sinful for us on the cross, then perhaps it is to show that He was completely exposed before God to be judged—illustrating our own nakedness before Him. But I think that under other circumstances, were Jesus not on the cross, being nude would not be shameful for Him because He had nothing to hide.

    • The new testament history does give us some interesting things on this. The main thing being that nudity is never morally judged.
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. I would like to comment on Luke 22:29, but it is more of a technicality than anything. The verse reads (according to the New Jerusalem Bible): “‘For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, “Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!”‘”

    Now, to me at least, it seems that Jesus is not blessing the barren and the breasts not never suckled. It seems that He is saying that people will bless them, and then, given the context, those that do so voluntarily, i.e., women who refuse to bear children and thus deny the nurturing nature of their womb/breasts. Perhaps a prediction of abortion?

    As a side note, I am not implying by any means that Jesus would/did not bless those women who are barren naturally; they are born that way and we can see multiple cases throughout the Bible where God blessed women like that. Example: Sarah, Rachel, Samson’s mother.

    Ad maiorem Dei gloriam!

    • I don’t think I would disagree with your assessment but my point was that there was nothing about breasts or nursing that was naturally shameful, it is just that there would come a terrible time for Jerusalem where it would be a blessing not to have children because they were, as history bears out, under siege. For the issue at hand about nakedness the point is that women’s breasts are in and of themselves not shameful.

  3. If we allow our knowledge of first-century Jewish culture to inform our reading, there are numerous other instances of “ordinary-nudity” throughout the Gospels which aren’t specifically mentioned. Jesus was most-likely baptized nude. Peter, Andrew, James and John were most-likely nude when Jesus called them. Not mentioned is the fact that Jesus and His disciples would have gone through all the ceremonial-washings that were necessary to participate in the various feasts and temple-worship. Jesus laid aside His garments during the Last Supper, taking on the role of a household servant when He washed His disciples feet. Jesus was naked when He was flogged and when He was crucified. He walked out of the tomb naked, and was probably still naked when He met Mary Magdelene in the garden. It is unknown how soon after His resurrection He was able to get more clothes. The disciples who went fishing after the resurrection were probably naked when He called to them from the shore. “Ordinary-nudity” was just that, ordinary, and nobody paid naked people any undue attention.

  4. I am puzzled that you don’t distinguish between voluntary (I choose to do it myself) and forced (I have no choice in the matter) nakedness. As far as I see it, voluntary nakedness is never condemned or considered shameful, but forced nakedness usually carries shame. Jesus on the cross being an exception.

    I haven’t seen anyone comment on the presence of Mary, of other women, and of the disciples at the crucifixion looking at Jesus’ naked body on the cross. If seeing a man’s genitals was considered shameful or sinful or was culturally inappropriate, then Jesus’s followers must have been terribly conflicted. Scripture is silent about this.

    It further seems that the shame is not so much about the nakedness itself, but about having been defeated in battle or being so poor that you are naked.

    The same verse that says we are to clothe the naked also says that we are to feed the hungry. If we say that it is shameful or sinful to be naked, hence we must clothe the naked; then in parallel to that we must conclude that it is shameful or sinful to be hungry, hence we must feed the hungry. I don’t think either is true.

    I see nothing in Scripture that says Adam and Eve were ashamed after the Fall. Genesis says they were afraid. Attributing shame to their nakedness appears to be taking a modern cultural response and improperly reading it into the biblical text. That is because our cultures say we should feel shame, then Adam and Eve must have felt shame. This is not a good way to handle Scripture.

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