“Jesus would totally bake a gay couple a wedding cake.”
“Jesus only judged, like, religious people and financiers.”
“They’re just using some hypocritical morality to justify their bigotry.”
So goes the arguments when a baker refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because he or she is a Christian. I often wonder if a person demanding shrimp at a Kosher deli could file such a lawsuit. This is a world in which we must go to the highest court in the land to decide what kinds of cakes a baker must make.
It sounds ridiculous when you put it that way.
But I am less focused on the ruling than on this interpretation of Jesus as humanist. I would like to explore and share some perspective on what and whom Jesus “judged.”
First, I feel we must know Jesus’ purpose in relationship to sin. 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 NIV
By this statement, we can conclude that Jesus is not the deliverer of a new law or standard for what constitutes sin. He did not stand in street corners listing what qualifies as sin under his new rule. In fact, I believe the only laws he did abolish were those he made obsolete – those ceremonial laws concerned with sacrificing, the Temple, and what was clean and unclean. His death and resurrection necessarily abolished those!
That being said, no one needed clarification on their sin status before Jesus.
So, Jesus didn’t judge those sinners, only the church-y people, then?
Well, Jesus did not judge anyone:
““If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” John 12:47 NIV
Jesus did not judge then, and he has not judged, yet. What he did do is call some people on the carpet, so to speak. And there is a distinct difference between those he called out and those he did not.
It has nothing to do with the type of sin, either.
When Jesus called Matthew the tax collector, Matthew dropped his coffers and followed Jesus.
When Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene, she left her livelihood behind and followed him.
When Jesus spoke to Zaccheus, he returned the stolen money and became a disciple.
Jesus did not call out their sins because he did not have to. They felt his love and conviction, and they turned away from it.
When Jesus revealed himself to the religious leaders at the Temple, they threatened him and plotted against them.
He called them out in words and actions. He pointed out their sin because they refused to acknowledge it themselves.
This difference is crucial. Jesus doesn’t love one group of people more; he loves one response more. He loves a broken and contrite heart.
Culture is quick to label people as bigots and claim an understanding of Jesus that is incorrect. Jesus does not overlook or condone sin. Jesus didn’t buy Mary Magdalene perfume or a new bed so she could have a better prostitution business. He didn’t give Zaccheus more bags so he could keep swindling money.
God does not change. Sin is not relevant. Withholding judgement does not equate to forcing an endorsement.
Jesus loved people in their sin, and he loved them right out of it, too.