The Pharisees (one of the groups of religious leaders) were the resident rule makers of Jesus’ day. They would take a passage from the Torah and assemble a list of rules based on the passage so as to make sure that no one disobeyed or broke the laws that God had given to Moses and the Israelites.
I love when they ask Jesus if it is lawful to preform healings on the Sabbath- the day that God told Moses no one should do any work. Apparently the Pharisees had decided that healing people should be included on their list of things one must not do on the Sabbath. I can only imagine what was going on in Jesus’ head. His response was basically, you are allowed to do good on the Sabbath. Then he proceeded to heal a man with a shriveled hand.*
In all of our uncertainty and fear as people and as Christians, I think we have made some rules surrounding certain passages of the Bible regarding sexuality- some that are unnecessary and not actually God-honoring. I’m actually 100% certain we have, because we’re fallen and our interpretations of the Scriptures are not perfect. They can’t be.
And that scares me. Not knowing something for certain scares me. So I make rules to protect myself from the fear of not knowing. I make rules to ensure that I don’t sin. I think we all do. I think the Church as an institution does.
You would anticipate that Jesus, being both fully God and fully human, would clarify the law when he lived on earth; that he would have seen the list of rules that the Pharisees made and edited it. Maybe added a few here, taken away a few there- instead he came as the fulfillment of the law and thus simplified it in a surprising way. He took the whole of the Torah and all of the additional rules the Pharisees had created and boiled them down to this:
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. Matthew 22:37-40
I wonder what rules we have erected regarding the topic of sexuality that Jesus would break if he were here with us today.
Today I’m simply inviting you to wrestle with the opinions you have bought into and the ideas that you perceive as truth in regards to the subject of sexuality. You can wrestle here. You can wrestle somewhere else. My only encouragement for you is that you would wrestle with other people.
I pray that we would not hear these words that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees:
[You] worship me in vain; [your] teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. Mark 7:7,8
[For those of you who are new to the blog, I define sexuality in a much more broad and holistic sense than most people so you can catch up by reading THIS. In short, when I use the word sexuality I am not simply referring to sexual orientation, although that is certainly a part of it.]
*Story from Matthew 12:9-14