So Why Did Jesus Mention Sodom, Anyway?

Jesus is recorded mentioning Sodom two times in canonical Luke.

You’d think that during the church turmoil over gays and lesbians that someone would have found a way to weaponize Sodom in the struggle.

For most end users, the Luke 10 mention of Sodom is a warning against rejecting the gospel. And Luke 17 is blandern yet, that judgment will be sudden, without warning.

If these were just “simple  warnings” against rejecting the good news, and about the suddenness of judgment, then transforming them into ammunition for church polemics would be understandably difficult.

Mentioning Sodom seems like a pretty dramatic move, considering the Genesis story. In the story there’s the threat of homesexual rape, the hero’s drunken incest, an angel, a woman turned into a pillar of salt, and fire and brimstone destroying a city.

All this, and how does the Lukan authorship use all that juicy stuff? To illustrate how bad it is to reject the gospel and that Jesus’ second coming will come as a surprise?


No. Sometime, somewhere, somebody somehow missed something.

Why did Jesus mention Sodom, anyway?

That’s been a big mystery. For today’s combatants there’s a kind of awkwardness, I think, because we wish “Jesus” had used that opportunity to make things clear, one way or the other.

“So tell us, Jesus, where do you stand? Are you pro- homosexual or anti-homosexual?”..

“If Jesus really agreed with Leviticus, why didn’t he say something? Why didn’t he warn homosexuals about the consequences of their sin?”

Or, “If Jesus was so accepting and inclusive, then why didn’t he show it? He touched lepers and bleeding women, why not something with homosexuals here?”

“If he was telling us how normal same-sex couples should be, why didn’t he just come out and say it?”

You see, we really do want something didactic. “The moral of the story is…” If we can’t use it to comfort, challenge or instruct someone, what good is it? If we can’t use it to rebuke, instruct or edify, why is it even there?

Interesting question. Why is it even there? If all scripture is inspired, and useful for a variety of things, then why waste a setting with such dramatic potential?

Originally, the Sodom mentions were hints, clues to something. They were an “X marks the spot” for readers, and “X” was a sensitive subject.

You’d think that after decades of Christian debate that someone would have figured out why Jesus mentioned Sodom, not once, but twice, once in Luke 10:12 and again in 17:29. You’d think that in such an important debate, Jesus’ mentions of Sodom would have been brought to bear by now, by someone.

So what would that purpose be? Was there something else being communicated to us?

In Luke 17, the story of Noah concerned a world-wide flood and an inexplicable disaster. The story of Lot concerned one city and an inexplicable disaster.

The fact of inexplicable disaster doesn’t make the difference. The homosexuality connected to the Sodom story makes the difference. Homosexuality.

Then, a few verses later, there are two men in one bed and two women grinding together.

Why did “Jesus” mention Sodom in Luke 17? To let us know that the two men in one bed were gay and the two women grinding together were lesbian. The mention of Sodom is called context.

So what about that other mention of Sodom in Luke? “In the day of judgment Sodom will do better than that city.” That city was Bethsaida. The sin of Bethsaida was rejecting the messengers.

Sodom was mentioned in Luke 10:12 so that we would know that Bethsaida rejected the messengers because of homosexuality. The rejected messengers were gay and lesbian.

If God spoke through Baalam’s ass, if God poured out his spirit on gentiles, if Philip had seven daughters who prophesied, I guess God can use homosexuals to speak to me.

What a concept.

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
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