There have been numerous speculations and debates about the possibility that Jesus of Nazareth was gay, queer, or had a same-sex attraction. Dr. Reverend Bob Shore-Goss, an openly gay senior pastor and presumably a New Testament scholar, had written some books titled Queering Christ and Jesus ACTED UP: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto.
In addition, Jesus was speculated to have had a romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene and had a daughter, which has no biblical evidence. This heretic idea or assumption is derived from Jesus’ intimate relationship with His beloved disciple John, the one disciple considered in the scripture as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:7, John 13:23, and John 19:26).
Today, there is a pressing need to examine the evidence and arguments for and against the hypothesis that Jesus was gay and the broader issue of how homosexuality was viewed in the biblical context.
Was Jesus Gay?
Is Jesus gay? There is no concrete evidence to support any claims regarding Jesus’ sexuality or sexual orientation, whether gay, queer, or bisexual. In ancient times, a strong culture of masculinity was practiced among men.
The hypotheses and assumptions drawn to Jesus as gay or queer have been based on His violation of the code of masculinity. Jesus’ loving relationship with His disciple John, who was reclining back next to Him (John 13:23), was hypothetically assumed to be a special gesture of affection or intimacy. However, Jesus loved his friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary in the same way (John 11:5). Jesus wept over the death of His friend Lazarus and raised him from the dead.
The Bible tells the birth, life, and ministry of Jesus Christ in great detail. It is important to examine His nature as a man and as God to dispel speculations that He is gay or queer.
Jesus was born of a virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit and not by sexual activity. He was not just a mere man; His conception was through the power of the Holy Spirit, which means that His nature is of the Spirit and God. The scripture says, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Jesus was not just human; He is God. Humans were designed by God to have inherent physical, emotional, and sexual attraction brought about by their carnal (flesh) nature. The first man, Adam, experienced this longing to find a partner that was comparable to or suitable for him (Genesis 2:18–23).
It was Eve that was created out of Adam’s rib, his existing body part that God used to create his partner. Eve is the perfect, complementary, and suitable pair for Him, and they were in fact “one flesh.”
Jesus is different from man. He is the Son of God. His nature is of the Spirit, and He is God (John 1:1). Like His Father, He is transcendent (independent and surpassing above the creations), but He is also immanent (present and intimate with the creations). The nature of God is not like ours. The scripture says, “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15).
Jesus’ nature and power are not subject to, limited by, or controlled by space and time, fleshly carnal desires, life, and death, or the cultures, norms, standards, and traditions of men. He lived a simple, holy life, was unmarried, and remained celibate until His death and ascension to heaven.
Jesus became a man on a mission to save the world from the curse of sin and eternal punishment. He was committed to fulfilling the will of the Father. His sacrificial death on the cross showed us the greatest kind of love. While men are still sinners, Jesus died for all, crucifying all sinful passions and desires of the flesh with Him on the cross (Galatians 5:24).
How Was Homosexuality Perceived In Jesus’ Time?
To understand homosexuality in Jesus’ time, we need to first understand the social and religious norms of the ancient world. Jesus was known to have lived in the first century C.E. in the region of Palestine, which was then under Roman occupation and Jewish influence.
Both the Roman and Jewish cultures had different attitudes toward homosexuality, but neither one of them accepted or tolerated same-sex relationships or identities in the way that many modern societies do.
In the Roman world, male citizens were expected to marry and have children, and any change from this standard was considered immoral and punishable. In the Jewish world, homosexuality was also viewed as a sin and a violation of divine law. The Hebrew Bible, which was the primary scripture for the Jews of Jesus’ time, contains several passages that condemn homosexual acts as “abominations.”
Leviticus 18:22 says, “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.” It also prescribes the death penalty for living it out. In the Book of Enoch and the Wisdom of Solomon, same-sex relations are associated with idolatry, paganism, and moral corruption.
What Did Jesus Teach About Homosexuality?
The New Testament teachings are consistent with the teachings of the Old Testament laws. God’s standard of righteousness and holiness did not change in Jesus’ time. He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).
Jesus does not have specific teachings about homosexuality, but He openly and clearly teaches about sexual immorality in general and about marriage (Matthew 15:19, 5:32, Mark 7:21). Sexual immorality refers to any sexual expression outside the boundaries of a biblically defined marriage. It is a sin committed outside of a man’s own body.
Sexual immoralities include adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, sex with animals, and other sexually prohibited acts (defined in the books of Leviticus 18:1–30, Leviticus 20:10–16, and Deuteronomy 22:13–25).
Jesus came not to condemn us but to give hope and salvation to those who would believe (John 3:16–17). He dealt with sinners with His tender mercies, love, and kindness. He spent time with marginalized people and sinners to preach the truth of God’s Word, but He did not compromise or distort the law. And these sinners responded with conviction in their hearts, believed in the Lord, and lived a new, transformed life.
There is no factual evidence to support the claim that Jesus was gay or queer. Jesus’ status as both man and God—born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit—makes it impossible to attribute human sexual desires to Him. Moreover, homosexuality was viewed as a sin and a violation of divine law during Jesus’ time.
As the church, it is our responsibility to love and respect all individuals, irrespective of their sexual orientation. As many Christians adhere to the moral standards outlined in the Scriptures, we must also love and be compassionate like Jesus. As faithful members of Christ’s body, let us be the salt and light in this fallen world.