“Jesus didn’t say anything about _____.”
At this point, you have undoubtedly either said this phrase or heard someone say it. We hear it most often on the topic of homosexuality, though it by no means is restricted to only that debate.
However, this statement actually gives very little weight to those arguing for the acceptance of gay marriage/an openly practicing gay lifestyle. Below are four reasons why this is the case.
1) We actually have no idea if Jesus addressed that issue.
Jesus’ life is recorded in the four Gospels in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Jesus’ public ministry lasted roughly three years, and many of the stories of his life and teachings are repeated in each the Gospels. Therefore, we actually have only a small fraction (what the Gospel writers and the Holy Spirit thought was necessary) contained in the Bible.
In fact, John himself wrote,
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. -John 21:25
So to say Jesus never said anything about a certain topic is wrong; we simply don’t know.
2) Jesus didn’t address a number of issues in the Gospels that are “wrong.”
Just because it isn’t recorded that Jesus addressed an issue doesn’t mean he condoned it. Which is why it makes little sense that so many people think Jesus’ silence on an issue means he had no problem with something.
We have no record of him speaking on things like rape, incest, pedophilia, or abortion. I really doubt that means he supported such things.
3) It seems that Jesus spent much of his time addressing things that needed changing.
Jesus challenged the religious leaders of the day because they were so focused on the rules and not on worshipping God for who he is. Though our actions matter, God cares more about our hearts and us trusting in him.
Many of the religious leaders were judgmental towards “sinners” and those they thought to be lesser than themselves. So Jesus spent a lot of his time teaching all of us not to become like these people.
He talked a lot about how he was able to forgive sins and save sinners (i.e. all of us), because most people didn’t know this. Jesus loved the least of these, as well as treated women and children with dignity and respect. All of these things the culture at large at that time did not believe or do.
Because the culture at large (even more so the Jewish culture) in Jesus’ context affirmed marriage to be between one man and one woman, it seems very likely that Jesus would have addressed the “narrow mindedness” of that view if in fact it was a wrong view. This is why he didn’t need to address things like rape or pedophilia; his Jewish context already condemned those things.
What we do see however is Jesus affirming traditional marriage as God’s design (Matthew 19:4-6), as well as speaking against sexual immorality on many occasions. And as I have written before, if God created sex to flourish in the confines of marriage, and he designed marriage to be between one man and one woman, then any kind of sexual relationship outside the marriage of one man and woman is wrong.
It would then follow that any sexually active relationship (homosexual and heterosexual) outside God’s original design for marriage is in fact sinful. Since Jesus spent no time (that we know of) trying to change the Jewish sexual ethic, it likely means it was the one he approved of.
4) Christians believe all of the Bible to be inspired by God and therefore equal in authority.
Lastly, and this is what many non-Christians do not understand, is that Christians believe all of the Bible to be equally authoritative because we believe that as the writers wrote, the Holy Spirit guided them to include all that God wanted us to know.
We see this play out in the homosexual debate because Jesus does not say anything specifically about homosexuality, though Paul who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament did (and he presents it as sinful behavior).
It is true that if I could have a physical conversation with either Jesus or Paul, I would choose Jesus (who is God himself!); Jesus is infinitely more important than Paul. However, when it comes to what is in the Bible, I see it as all equally authoritative.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
Above are four main reasons why “Jesus didn’t say anything about it” doesn’t prove anything in the homosexual debate (and actually, Jesus’ silence seems to point to his affirmation of monogamous sexual relationships to be reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman). My goal here is not to belittle those who think this phrase somehow endorses and active homosexual lifestyle, but to hopefully show why this phrase really doesn’t hit home to many Christians.
Nor do I want to discourage those who have or deal with same sex attraction. But all of us who follow Christ must submit our lives on this earth to his design. It is not until we meet Jesus face to face that the pain and heartache of this world will cease to hurt us. May we hold fast to Jesus until that day comes.