Who Can Marry?

Jesus knew the kind of pressure we are under when it comes to the issue of the decision we are being called to make about same sex marriage. Make the ‘wrong’ decision and people in power will be quick to jump on you. In his case it was to do with the right to divorce your spouse and remarry (Matthew 19:1-8). While he was not directly called upon to make a comment on homosexuality, it was prevalent in Roman society and would have been lawful in any Roman province of which Judaea was one. And while there was no talk of transgender or gender reassignment (which was not medically possible in his day), cross-dressing was not uncommon in Rome as a means of indicating a change of sexual preference.

We may feel we are the first generation of Christians to ever have faced such societal expectations but that is not the case. But as followers of Jesus we would be wise to look at his response. The first and only thing Jesus did was to ignore common or accepted practice but appeal to the truth contained in the Scripture. The passage that provided Jesus’ answer for divorce is the same one that provides our answer to same sex marriage. In quoting the Scripture and holding to its teaching we are not seeking to respond from a place of bigotry but of Biblically informed faith which also requires that we act with grace towards those who do not hold our viewpoint.

Jesus simply said, “Haven’t you read, that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6) The Scripture is unequivocal and spoken at a time where other relationships were possible. Biblical marriage is the lawful union of two adult people who were conceived before birth as male and female, which will continue until one of them dies. This is the only sexual union that carries the promise of God’s blessing.