Raise your hand if you’ve been confronted with this question: If homosexuality is so bad, how come Jesus never said anything about it?
It’s true! A quick stroll through the Sermon on the Mount, reveals that Our Savior had a lot to say about murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, revenge, giving, prayer, worry and judgment. There are multiple instances where He put the Sabbath in proper perspective and calmly debated the best minds of the day. He healed, fed and forgave; spoke of end times; restored a dead man’s life and instituted the New Covenant. But not a word about homosexuality.
So is it reasonable to conclude that Jesus implicitly approved of this lifestyle because he never mentioned it explicitly? Hardly.
In Jesus’ time, Israel was a society governed by Old Testament law. Jewish citizens were fully aware of the rules set-down by Moses – they had lived them everyday for many centuries. So it was well understood that homosexuality was forbidden by God in Leviticus 18:22 and punishable by death according to Leviticus 20:13. And Jesus broadcast His general agreement when He stated that He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Mt 5:17).
However, the Gospels are replete with instances where Jesus made it a point to modify prevailing legalistic viewpoints to bring them in-line with God’s true intent. Refer again to the Sermon on the Mount – anger equates to murder, lustful looks constitute adultery, judges are advised to seek self-introspection and prayer is a private conversation to name only a few examples.
He also completely set-aside some Old Testament laws, like those forbidding certain foods. “‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)” (Mk 7:18-19).
Where appropriate, Christ even solidified some long-standing principles. When asked to name the greatest commandment, He replied by quoting Old Testament law:”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Mt 22:37-40).
The fact is, Jesus had ample opportunity to alter or strike down Mosaic law condemning homosexuality, but He never did. Instead His silence communicated full agreement with the law as it had stood for many centuries. And if it was good enough for Christ in first century Israel, then it still stands today.