“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” – John 8:7 (NASB)
What would Jesus say about same-sex marriage, or homosexuality overall? That’s a provocative question, isn’t it? But it’s a different question than “what does the Bible say about it?” Before you get all theological on me, let me explain. When I ask what would Jesus say, I’m thinking about how He would handle the situation if someone brought a gay couple to Him and demanded that He declare then and there whether they are sinners or if they have the right to marry. I don’t have any doubt that His response would not conflict with what the Bible says. But I don’t think He would quote Scripture in an effort to make sure that everyone understood what side of the argument He falls. In fact, I don’t think He’d be concerned about how people viewed Him, or what people are going to think of Him when He’s done. I suspect that He would mostly be concerned about the 2 people who have been put on display in order to make a point. Here’s why:
In John chapter 8, the familiar story is told about the woman who had been caught committing adultery. But let’s not skip the background for this story. Jesus had gone into the temple that morning and began to teach. He was in the temple….teaching. And as He was teaching, the Scribes and Pharisees (religious leaders) brought the woman into the temple, sat her in front of Jesus, and confronted Him with her sin. They said, “the Law of Moses commanded us to stone such women; what do YOU say?” (Emphasis added) They were pointing out what the Scriptures said, and asking Him to affirm His agreement with it. John explained in verse 6 that they were testing Jesus to see if they could find grounds to accuse Him. They were trying to get Him to contradict the Scripture, as He was standing in the temple teaching. So in such a clear test, it is amazing that He did not immediately seek to prove that He was in 100% agreement with Scripture. He would have to publicly condemn the woman, in order to prove to everyone watching that He was committed to the Scriptures,. But instead, He tried to ignore those who were using this woman (sinful though she may be) to win an argument. John says that he stooped down and began to write on the ground. Many people have speculated on what He may have written (my favorite guess is that he scribbled the names of the women they had all slept with). But the Bible doesn’t tell us what he wrote, and I have to believe it’s because that is beside the point. He first ignored them. But when they persisted, He found a clever way to circumvent their little trap. He stood up and pointed out that they were hypocrites. After they all walked away in shame, He showed her some mercy and sent her away with a mild admonishment to “sin no more.” He then resumed His teaching.
It seems to me that the church has been given a mission to make disciples and teach them God’s ways. (Matthew 28:19-20) This is exactly the work that Jesus Christ immersed Himself in while on earth. And He seemed to treat as an interruption anything that didn’t involve making disciples and teaching them. That’s why I think, if confronted today with the gay couple and asked what He thought of them, His response would likely be much more compassionate than some of ours. I also think His response would be more convicting than some of ours. I think His first response would be to ignore it. I think He would think there are more important things to do than to get caught up trying to defend Himself or prove that He is right. He wouldn’t have to prove it. And that’s the way I think us Christians should handle these controversies. In most cases, people are confronting us with it publicly in order to try to trap us into saying something that they can use to accuse us. But, we should be so busy trying to make disciples and teach them His ways that we don’t have time to defend ourselves.