Keeping Jesus at Arm’s Length

Do you want to learn from Jesus? Or do you simply want to make sure Jesus isn’t stepping on your toes?

The former proceeds from faith. When you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for your sins, its only natural that you’d want to sit at his feet and learn from him.

The latter proceeds from unbelief. You really only care what you yourself believe and–for some reason or another–want the security of thinking that Jesus isn’t contradicting you.

I bring this up because of the all-to-common assertion that “Jesus never taught anything about gay marriage.”

Anyone who wants to learn from Jesus will find out very quickly that this assertion is false. They’ll read Matthew 19, for example, and observe that Jesus roots his teaching on marriage in the fact that God created humans as male and female and that marriage proceeds from this divinely ordained aspect of human nature. They’ll read about Jesus’ repeated & clear teaching that the Old Testament is the very word of God, and they’ll notice what the Old Testament says about homosexual liaisons. They’ll read about Jesus’ promises to the Apostles that the Holy Spirit will lead them into all truth and notice what the Apostles say about homosexual liaisons. In short, anyone who genuinely wants to learn from Jesus is not going to be unaware of his teaching on the issue. They may not like it; they may not really understand why Jesus taught what he taught; but they will rightly understand that Jesus taught that a marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.

In contrast, this reasoning will be entirely opaque to those who–in unbelief–only desire the comfort that Jesus is not disagreeing with them. They will find out that the phrase “gay marriage” does not exist in the Bible and leave it at that. It will never even occur to them that the concept that two men or two women can be married to each other would make many of Jesus’ teachings incoherent. It will never occur to them because they never tried to understand Jesus’ teachings in the first place and so they don’t really need the prerequisite of coherence. With that, Jesus can be safely dismissed and kept out of the way.

But there is no safety in keeping our Savior at arm’s length. And if you find yourself in that latter category because Jesus teachings on this or any other issue make you really uncomfortable, here’s what I suggest: Be honest. Go to Christ in prayer and tell him what you think. Yell at him, curse at him if you must, and demand to know why he’s so hateful or whatever your issue is. He’s God; he can take it. And then, when you’ve got that out of your system, say “Lord… you’re God and I’m not–but I don’t understand. Please help me believe you.” And then, when you have faith in Christ rather than faith in your own feelings of comfort, that faith can begin seeking understanding.

About Matt

Software engineer by trade; lay theologian by nature; Lutheran by grace.
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One Response to Keeping Jesus at Arm’s Length

  1. Pingback: Answering Some Criticisms | The 96th Thesis

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