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“Jesus never said a word about homosexuality!”
This is what some people will say when the topic of homosexuality or ‘same sex marriage’ gets brought up, and to a certain extent, it is true that Scripture never records Jesus saying the word “homosexual.” Not even once. But is that really all we can do, or all we should do, to see what Jesus’ opinion is on the topic? If people grant Jesus the position of having moral authority and care what He says about social issues, then shouldn’t we investigate His Word a little more?
Take for instance other topics like incest, beastiality, rape, or pedophilia—Jesus never said anything explicitly about those things, so are we to conclude that He was apathetic, or worse yet, approving of those actions? Of course not, most people know that Jesus would not have approved of rape or any of those other things. So why do we wonder about homosexuality? Could it be our cultural bias that makes us doubt we can know Jesus’ opinion?
Let’s take a look into Jesus’ culture and find some hints as to His thoughts… maybe shed some light onto the question at hand.
Jesus was Jewish. He was a 1st century Jew who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus also believed in the O.T. law and obeyed it.
Jesus considered Himself Lord over the law, but He honored the law (along with the intentions or “spirit” of it) and thought it to be holy, righteous, and good.
Now, before people start to wonder about where I am going with this, let me say fully and openly that we are not under the old covenant as Christians today; we are under the new covenant of grace:
So we are to live unto Jesus, in the new way of the Spirit, under the new covenant. What did the law do?
According to Paul: “
The law came so that the people of Israel would know “when they missed the mark” and to help them understand their need for a savior.
There are different kinds of law in the O.T.; there are Ceremonial Laws, like that of washings and temple dress, and then there are Moral Laws, which had to do with things like the 10 commandments. Even though we are not bound to the Law, the Moral Law can still act as a guide for us today in how we live our lives unto Jesus. The Moral Law reveals to us God’s thoughts towards certain behaviors and practices.
Jesus took the law to the heart when he talked about anger - instead of murder, and adultery of the heart - instead of physical adultery. He acknowledged the difference between the two kinds of Law:
He also didn't decrease the intensity of the Moral Law, He increased it by pointing to our very thoughts. Jesus had the highest view of the law, and no wonder why, it’s His law!
So what did Jesus say about His law? This is a very powerful statement from our Lord.
Notice that Jesus says the greatest commandments are:
Then He says the part that gets so overlooked today: “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus is saying here that the O.T. law was given in order to complete these two commandments. Friends, this includes the verses that are countercultural in todays time. Jesus is saying that if you disobey the Moral Law “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22, ESV) you cannot love God or your neighbor. This means that Jesus did implicitly speak about the issue of Homosexuality. In this one verse we see a host of things become clearer. We can know Jesus’ opinion on things by looking at what was revealed in the O.T.
For example, in Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth we see that a problem arose because the church had a member who was sleeping with his stepmother. So what does Paul do? He writes to them:
Notice that Paul wasn’t shy about who's Name to invoke the authority to make this judgment. He said: “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and “with the power of our Lord Jesus.” How did Paul know what Jesus would have said? Because Paul knew that Jesus is Jewish! There was no “WWJD” moment for Paul! He knew even though Jesus never said a word like “don’t sleep with you stepmother.” The reason He knew what Jesus’ opinion was is because of what had already been revealed by Jesus’ Father: “You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness.” (Leviticus 18:8, ESV) Let me remind you that this verse is from the same chapter in Leviticus as the verse about practicing homosexuality.
Would anyone be willing to say that Paul misspoke here?
Or that Paul shouldn't have invoked Jesus’ words because Jesus didn't specifically mention the sin of sleeping with your stepmother? Of course not! So why would we doubt Jesus’ opinion in the area of homosexual practice?
Some may retort that Jesus did speak against adultery, and that is really what Paul is upset about here, and that’s why he invokes Jesus’ name, but Jesus also spoke of sexual immorality, and both are present here. Also, Paul states as a preface to the judgement: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:1–2, ESV) Why would Paul use such a preface if he is only speaking of adultery, which is much more prevalent than a man sleeping with his fathers wife? It’s the sexually immoral nature of the sin (mentioned in the first part of verse 1) that of “sleeping with his father’s wife” which causes the repugnance in Paul.
There is simply no ground to say that Paul could assume that Jesus was against sleeping with your own stepmother and not against the practice of homosexuality. Jesus included both in His prohibition of “sexual immorality” because both were in the Moral Law. Paul knew that and was confident enough to invoke Jesus’ name and authority to condemn it. Paul could justify the invocation of Jesus name on the authority of: “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
You can confidently know what Jesus said AND where He stood on the issue of homosexual practice.
However, having said this, I think we need to take a look at what Scripture says to those who are in this lifestyle. Paul writes to the same church in chapter 6:
There is hope in Jesus! He is able to break every chain! He loves you! You don't have to find your identity in your sexuality. Find who you are in Jesus. Be His! He calls you out of darkness and into marvelous light. He comes to give you life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10–11, ESV) Life is not found in sex, it’s found in Jesus!
Our identity is not found in our sexual orientation, it’s found in who God says we are.
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