I was in my mid-20s living in San Diego. I joined some people from a nearby church and went to a Pride parade to pass out water, give hugs, and hold signs saying “We are sorry the church hasn’t loved you the way Jesus would” (or something along those lines). All of a sudden, I was descended upon by a film crew with a microphone asking me what Jesus had to say about homosexuality. I was not expecting this, but I was giddy to share the love of Christ and talk about how we are all sinners saved by grace and how Jesus never singled out homosexuality as worse than any other type of sexual immorality. In the middle of my sentence (which I had been certain would be received with amazement, tears, and more questions about how to know this Jesus guy), the film crew interrupted me and said, “NOTHING. He said nothing about homosexuality.” And then they walked away without a word, off to find their next “interview.”

I sat there dumbfounded. What had just happened? And was it true that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality? And if not, why not?

Spoiler alert: Jesus really doesn’t ever address homosexuality specifically, and in our current sexual climate, this argument is being trotted out regularly to convince people that Jesus, therefore, didn’t really have an opinion on the topic (or tacitly affirmed it). Jesus really doesn’t ever address homosexuality specifically, and in our current sexual climate, this argument is being trotted out regularly to convince people that Jesus, therefore, didn’t really have an opinion on the topic (or… Click To Tweet

I have always been drawn to the epistles and Revelation. The Gospels were a little less interesting to me because I couldn’t quite picture Jesus. I knew what the New Testament taught about sexuality, but it had never occurred to me that our theology hadn’t come from Jesus Himself.

If your kids are coming to you asking why, here are a few things to help them think through the topic.

1. Jesus did speak about sex and marriage

While it is true that Jesus never specifically mentions homosexuality, it doesn’t mean that He had nothing to say about sexuality or marriage. Jesus employs the K.I.S.S. method[1] and consistently points His listeners back to how things were in the beginning, with male and female, united for life, not to be separated (Mark 10:2-9). But some people assume that since He didn’t specifically mention homosexuality that must mean He was at least ambivalent about it. Such a conclusion does not give enough weight to what Jesus did say or why He only addressed certain topics. (For example, He didn’t say anything about bestiality or incest, either. To be consistent with this argument, you’d have to argue that He was on the fence about those things, too.)

The one thing we know He didn’t say was that certain types of sexual immorality were more damnable than any other. After all, sexual sins always involve us sinning against our own bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18) We are all equal at the foot of the cross. The one thing we know Jesus didn't say was that certain types of sexual immorality were more damnable than any other. We are all equal at the foot of the cross. #lgbtq #trueequality Click To Tweet

2. Jesus came specifically for the Jewish people first

Yes, Jesus came to die for the whole world (John 3:16). However, an often overlooked part of the Gospels is that He came for the Jewish people (Israel), first and foremost. (Matthew 15:24). His entire 3 ½  year ministry was focused on this one demographic (though He never turned a gentile away because of it). In Romans 1, Paul clarifies multiple times: “First for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” So keep in mind that Jesus’s primary message was to Jews — the people who were then tasked with taking the good news to the ends of the earth (Genesis 12:2-3, Matthew 28:18-20).[2] This brings me to my next point.

3. Jesus didn’t reiterate what His audience already knew

The Jews already knew what the Law said about homosexuality, so they were a step ahead of most gentile cultures. The law of Moses was very specific about sexual morality (Leviticus 18 and 20). It lists every single possible person (or thing) a Jew was prohibited from having sex with. Why was it that specific? Because every single one of those sexual behaviors was commonplace in the land of Canaan! God warns them not to do any of these things, or they would be destroyed just like the Caananites were (Leviticus 18:28).

When Jesus came to the first-century Jews, they had generations of knowledge of what sexuality was intended to be. He didn’t need to reiterate this or go into specifics. This would be like coming to America to spread the message of driving on the right side of the road: your audience already knows it. When do we see homosexuality mentioned in the New Testament? You guessed it: when the author was speaking to a gentile audience who did not have familiarity with God’s laws regarding sexuality.

In summary:

Jesus did not have to address every different type of sexual immorality to advocate for biblical sexuality. He stuck to original design and even doubles down in Mark 10:5-9. We can do the same with our kids every time they come to us with “But what about [fill in the blank with new sex, gender, or marriage question]?” Just keep pointing them back to God’s original design, and things get a lot simpler. Remind them we are all prone to wander from God’s design. Every single one of us. We are all equal at the foot of the cross as image-bearers struggling to accurately reflect God’s image. Jesus did not have to address every different type of sexual immorality to advocate for biblical sexuality. Remind your kids that we are all prone to wander from God’s design. Click To Tweet

[1] K.I.S.S. = Keep it simple, stupid! A motto drilled into us by my freshman year biology teacher/coach

[2] Notice that not a single apostle was a gentile.

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