What did Jesus say?

What did Jesus say about homosexuality?

OK so this is a question we hear all the time, and many people will say that Jesus was silent on this.  I disagree with that; Jesus did speak about sexual immorality and I will cover that shortly.  But the other day I was reading the book of John and was drawn to the final verse which says, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  And it struck me, how much more did Jesus do and say over the three years of his Ministry than is recorded, and how much more equipped would we feel as Christians if we knew everything that he had said and done?  There must be a huge amount of stuff that we will find out about when we get to heaven (just a cool thought, made me smile!)  But truth is, God often gives us part of the picture and not the whole thing.  We know that we prophesy in part, if you’re someone who has dreams from God, you’ll know that they need interpreting, we know that we see things now as a dim reflection.  And all this means that we often end up having to put all the pieces of the puzzle together with the help of the Holy Spirit to truly understand God’s message.

So, that leads me to think that we need to look at everything Jesus said remotely connected to sex, relationships and the Old Testament (OT) law to understand His plan for us.  And that’s what we are going to do here.

In relation to OT law, (the law in which God addresses sexual sin), we can be sure that Jesus understood the law and stood by the law.  In fact he wanted people to recognise that he called them to an even higher standard.  In Matthew 5:17 Jesus is recorded as saying, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” He goes on to explain that his expectations are high.  In verse 20 of the same chapter he tells them, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

That sets the scene, Jesus knows the law, he doesn’t just want us to obey the law; He wants us to go one step further.  We know this from Matthew 5 21-22 where Jesus tells us that anger (which can lead to murder), will be judged in the same way. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”

Jesus desired that we were all obedient to God’s law.  In fact in John 14:15 he is recorded as saying, “if you love me, you will keep my commands”.  The reason for this is simply that when kept, we live our best lives, we live as we were designed to and that leads to human flourishing.
That sets the scene for the how Jesus affirmed the law, so our next question is what did Jesus say about sex and relationships?

Jesus was asked a specific question about divorce which gives us real insight into what Jesus thought about relationship.  When asked whether divorce was ever permissible, Jesus responded, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Here Jesus refers back to Genesis and God’s original design for us from before the fall.  This perfect design was for one man and one woman to be joined together for life.  Even though the Jews had strayed far from this ideal, it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus was reiterating the positive vision for sex that is painted in Genesis, encouraging us to aim for this standard.

In John 8 we see another example of Jesus holding us to higher standard.  He actually intervened to save an adulteress from being stoned to death.  In doing this he didn’t play down the seriousness of her lifestyle. Rather he gave her a warning telling her to “Go and leave your life of sin.”  In fact Jesus emphasised that adultery was not simply the physical act, he made it clear that even lusting after a person we are not married to is a serious sin.

And finally Jesus helps us to recognise where sexual immorality comes from?  Jesus tells us that sexual immorality stems from the heart.  In Mark 7 we hear Jesus saying “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”   When he talks about sexual immorality I believe he is referring to his perfect plan for marriage. Anything outside of this would be immorality in his eyes, and that includes any sexual behaviours outside of the marriage of one man and one woman.

Was Jesus silent about homosexuality?  Draw your own conclusion from the above and your own reading of the Bible.  I agree that Jesus is not recorded as using the words that we know to mean homosexual but I am convinced that everything he did say pointed to sex being something he held high regard to as something reserved for marriage.  Personally I think the quote from Leonardo da Vinci sums this fact up well:

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”

Finally, on a personal note, the more I studied the Bible, the less important this question became to me.  Why?  Because I realised the importance of taking the Bible in its entirety.  I wanted to cross reference, to understand the New Testament in the light of the teachings found in the Old Testament, and vice versa.  Of course this includes understanding what Jesus teaches, but putting that in context with the bigger picture of good relating, Godly marriage, Paul’s letters of instruction to the early church and of course God’s moral laws, was much more important to me.





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