How Easter Helps Us With Our Sexualities

Andrew Bunt 2 weeks ago
Blog 3 mins

Easter stands at the heart of the Christian faith. The death and resurrection of Christ are the centre point of the gospel. As Paul the Apostle says, they are matters of ‘first importance’ (1 Corinthians 15:3) because if Christ hasn’t been raised from the dead, our faith is futile and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).

It’s no surprise then, central as they are to the Christian gospel, that the death and resurrection of Christ provide the shape of the Christian life as well. Death followed by life is a pattern applied by Jesus himself to the journey of Christian discipleship.

The suffering Christ

We see this in Mark 8. Here, Peter declares Jesus to be ‘the Christ’ (Mark 8:29). This is the first time in Mark’s narrative that a human has rightly identified who Jesus is. Now that Jesus has been rightly identified, he can start to teach the disciples what it will mean for him to be the Christ. Much to the disciples’ surprise, Jesus says it means that he will suffer, be rejected and killed, and then rise again after three days (Mark 8:31).

If we try to hold on to the life we want, we will end up losing true life. But if we sacrifice the life we want, we will find true life.

Having started to teach the disciples what his journey will look like – death followed by life – Jesus can start to explain how the disciples’ own journeys will look similar. They will follow Jesus on the same path of death followed by life: ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mark 8:34). The implication of taking up our crosses and following Jesus is that we follow him into death. And the shape of the gospel that Jesus has just outlined tells us to expect that this death will be followed by new life.

Jesus’s next words show that this expectation is correct: ‘Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel’s will save it’ (Mark 8:35). If we try to hold on to the life we want, we will end up losing true life. But if instead we sacrifice the life we want – we lose our life for the sake of Christ and the gospel – we will find true life. Christian life follows the pattern set by Christ and relives the gospel story – death followed by new life.

The seed that dies

The same idea comes across as Jesus teaches in John 12. This time the context is just after Jesus arrives in Jerusalem on the visit when he will be crucified.  

Jesus tells his disciples: ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit’ (John 12:23-24). Jesus has come to Jerusalem to die, but it will be a death that bears much fruit. It will be death followed by life.

We too face a death that leads to life.

And once again, Jesus, having outlined the pattern of his own journey, talks of the pattern of the Christian life, of our journey. ‘Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life’ (John 12:25). Christian discipleship means letting go of our hopes for our lives here to have true hope for our life in the age to come. We too face a death that leads to life.

Death, life and sexuality

There are lots of areas of life in which we live out this pattern of death followed by life. Sexuality is just one. For all of us, we are called to die to self in the area of sexuality, trusting that as we do, the death we experience is a doorway into true life.

For those of us who experience same-sex attraction, heeding Jesus’s words will mean choosing not to act on our same-sex sexual desires. Sometimes that will be very painful. Sometimes that may even feel like death. But we can make that choice and take those painful steps knowing that the death we go through as we deny ourselves and our desires is a death that leads to life. And we walk that path knowing that Christ has walked it before us. He has shown us what it is to find life through death. Easter can help us with our sexualities.