A couple of times in the past week I have come across the argument that since Jesus doesn’t mention homosexuality in the Gospels, he must have thought there was nothing wrong with homosexual sex. This is just a quick rebuttal to that argument. I will have more to say about it in a subsequent post.
Jesus also didn’t mention kidnapping, child abuse or racism. Should we conclude that those things are fine with him? He also didn’t talk about murder, except when he said that being angry at your brother, and insulting him, and calling him a fool, is the same as murder and makes you liable to hell. (Mt. 5:21-26)
Jesus didn’t make any changes to the moral law as the Jews already understood it. The exceptions are when he makes the moral law even stricter, for example when he says that Moses allowed divorce but that “it was not that way in the beginning” (Mt. 19:8) and that “he who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery” (Lk. 16:18); or when he says that not only is adultery a sin, but that when you even look on a woman with lust you’re committing adultery in your heart (Mt. 5:27-28), and that if your eye causes you to stumble in this way then you should pluck it out rather than burn in hell (Mt. 5:29).
There is a Latin proverb to the effect that silence implies consent. My interlocutors take this to mean that since Jesus didn’t condemn homosexual sexual activity, he must have approved of it. This is to project modern sensibilities on the people of Jesus’ time; to assume that what we take for granted is what Jesus takes for granted, so long as he doesn’t state otherwise. But if Jesus’ silence implies consent, it would imply consent to the prevailing morality of the time — unless he states otherwise. He has no fear of speaking out against the prevailing paradigm when he disapproves of it. In the case of Jewish sexual morality, he does no such thing.
In light of this, it would not be warranted to conclude that because Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality, his intention was to overturn the traditional Jewish prohibition of homosexual sex.