I’m making a series of blog posts on Jesus and Homosexuality, growing out of this sermon. This post is the first, and it will address the marriage side of the recent controversy.
The modern discussion of homosexuality is one laden with emotion, in part because one’s view on this issue relates not only to his sexuality, but to his religion. One’s conception of sex reveals one’s conception of God. Thus, Jesus Christ is often cited as an advocate of homosexuality, or an opponent, or even an ambivalent bystander. Take the President of the United States. President Obama has rooted his gay marriage views—both of them—to Jesus. In 2008, Candidate Obama tied his opposition to gay marriage to his profession of Christianity: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian … it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” A few weeks ago, President Obama changed his position on the issue, becoming the first sitting President to take up the gay marriage banner. He again defended his position by citing both Jesus’ sacrifice and Jesus’ teaching:
“This is something that, you know, [Michelle and I have] talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated…”
So was Jesus an advocate of homosexuality? Or was He ambivalent? Not even close. Those who suggest that Jesus would be happy to be the best man in a gay wedding are creating a god in their own image. So too are those who suggest that Jesus would be protesting the event (or worse, a funeral!) with signs about God hating homosexuals. Jesus is no man’s rubber stamp, or silly putty, or mirror. Rather, He is the ultimate revelation of the triune God (John 1:18; Hebrews 1:3). With open Bibles, we must listen to what He said on this and every other issue, not project onto Him what we wish He’d said.
Yes, Jesus has a position on marriage. In Matthew 19, one of the few occasions when Jesus spoke about marriage, He addressed it as a sacred thing. Asked to make a statement about divorce (by hypocrites hoping for a “gotcha” moment), Christ appealed to God’s institution of marriage, way back in Genesis 2:
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5; citing Genesis 1:27 and 2:24)
Christ applied the fact that God ordained marriage in the first place—“from the beginning” (vv. 4, 8)—to the question of marriage and divorce in His day. But He addressed more than divorce. He showed us how to think about marriage and reminded us of the sovereignty of God over marriage. His words to those intent on altering God’s design in His day is germane to every discussion of marriage: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).
“What God has…let not man.” That’s not just a religious-sounding conclusion for traditional weddings. Rather, it’s Jesus Christ, the Son of God, insisting that marriage is sacred. It is untouchable. It is unalterable. It is unamendable. It is something over which God alone has authority. Marriage is more than a covenant between two people (or more—why stop there, if we’re presuming to amend it?). It’s a sacred covenant, designed by God from the beginning and recognized by God ever since (Malachi 2:14). From the beginning, God prescribed marriage’s intent, its participants (“male and female”), and its permanence.
We’re not left to speculate about Jesus’ view of marriage. He points us to the Old Testament Scriptures. He tells us that it is a sacred covenant established by God. And He tells us that we may not alter God’s one-man-and-one-woman-for-a-lifetime design. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Filed under: Contemporary Issues