Jesus and homosexuality
Remember that trendy little saying that used to appear everywhere?
An acronym for “What would Jesus do?” many don’t realize that this phrase came from the excellent little 19th-century book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. And it’s still a great question for us to consider today.
What would Jesus say…
to a homosexual?
And how might this question shape the Christian view of homosexuality?
“We can’t know what Jesus would say,” many protest. “He never addressed homosexuality.”
One could make this statement about a lot of things.
After all, Jesus never addresses the internet. Or the pornography we find there.
He doesn’t tell us what to wear to the beach.
He doesn’t mention what programs to watch on Friday nights.
Or what movies we should avoid.
He didn’t even address pedophilia.
But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t care about any of those things.
And guess what?
God makes a powerful statement in 2 Peter 1:3 when He says: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.”
Christ-followers have absolutely everything we need to be able to make discerning, godly decisions. God’s Word is complete, bearing principles that clarify every aspect of life and godliness. And we apply those principles rightly as we rely on His leading through His Spirit within us.
So before we consider what Jesus would say to a homosexual, please allow me to point out a couple of lies that are widely purported in our modern times:
LIE #1 – Jesus’ teachings carry more weight than the rest of Scripture.
According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Jesus Himself said that He didn’t come to abolish the Law and the prophets, but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). He often quoted directly from the Old Testament, confirming its authority. He never, ever contradicted it. Ever.
In fact, He took the Law that was so focused on our actions — what we do that defies God and what we must do to restore that relationship — and He started it applying it to our hearts. Our innermost thoughts. The deepest, darkest, most secretive ones that we deceive ourselves into thinking don’t really matter.
But get this important distinction: following the Law isn’t what earned His rebuke. His problem was that they limited their worship to their actions, divorcing it from their hearts, and thus ignoring the heart of God altogether.
We must look to the entirety of Scripture to find God’s heart. And the truth is, He splays it pretty openly.
LIE #2 – If Jesus didn’t speak of a specific issue addressed in the Old Testament, it must be obsolete.
One thing that’s easy for us to forget in this 21st century is that Jesus’ primary ministry was with people who were already very familiar with the Law and generally obedient to it.
That’s a really important point. Because rather than assuming that Jesus’ silence about some aspect of Old Testament moral law (as opposed to the civil or ceremonial ones) negates it, we should assume that His silence confirms it.
The Sermon on the Mount, for example, shows how Jesus challenged some of the prevailing religious thoughts of His day. Wouldn’t it have been easy to include homosexuality in this discussion, if His audience’s thinking needed to be realigned with God’s heart?