There’s a persecution in the gospel that’s been totally hidden until recently. Of course there are delails we’ve known about, but one key fact was hidden from us. A lot of what follows may be familiar to you, but let me go over it anyway.
“Beware of the Pharisees. They will drag you into the synagogues, and falsely accuse you of all sorts of evil things. Your enemies will be your own family members: parents against their children, children against parents, in-laws testifying against in-laws”
“Beware of the Pharisees. When they say, ‘Go out in the field,’ don’t go! When they say, ‘Look in the inner room,’ don’t believe them!”
“There will be two men in a field; one will be seized, but the other left. Two women will be grinding together; one will be seized, and the other left.”
“Beware of the Pharisees. When they put you on trial in the assembly, don’t worry about what you’ll say. The spirit will give you the words when the time comes.”
But have you ever noticed how vague the charges are? Why are the targets being taken before the magistrates? What are the charges?
The key to understanding is the outcome of the trial. From now on the verdict is a foregone conclusion.
One will be seized, and the other will be left.
Why? Because it was two gay men seized in the field, one Jewish and the other a gentile. Because it was two lesbians grinding together, one Jewish and the other a gentile.
In an imperial system, subject people’s were granted self-government as long as they paid their taxes. Pharisees were allowed jurisdiction over Jews, but not gentiles.
A strange thing about those persecution details in Matthew and Luke is how scattered around they are. The details in the trial, crucifixion and resurrection stories are amazing, but the persecution details of ordinary people prior to the Passion Narratives are found scattered here and there.
Telling the story of the persecution that occurred before the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ was too messy, too controversial for the scribes who wrote Matthew and Luke. Discussing the gays and lesbians in the Gospels simply didn’t belong on the agenda.
The pre-Crucifixion persecution mentioned in the Gospels was over homosexuality. The Pharisees objected to “intermarriage” and same-sex relationships, but Roman surrogates could not allow Torah to be imposed on non-Jews.