Did Jesus Encounter a Gay Couple?

A few years ago I purchased a book called What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D. The book is written in a gay friendly manner and explains some alternative thinking to what the Catholic Church teaches on the subject of homosexuality. Mr. Daniel A. Helminiak is a respected theologian and Roman Catholic priest (Taken from the back of the book). I’m not writing this article to question the Catholic Church teachings on Homosexuality, I’m writing it to get others perceptive on what Mr. Helminiak wrote on this topic.

The story that Mr. Helminiak discusses in his book about Jesus encounter of a homosexual couple can be found in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. He focuses mostly on Luke 7:1-10. It’s the story of “The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave”.

1 When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. 4 They approached Jesus and strongly urged him come, saying “He deserves to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” 6 And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. 7 Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 When the messenger returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

Writing in its current context, one isn’t able to see what Mr. Helminiak wants us to see. For that we have to look at the Greek writing and Mr. Helminiak points out certain words that are used and when translated, they have point to a different meaning for how the Centurion feels about this slave.

According to Mr. Helminiak, when Luke wrote about the slave, Luke used the word pais when he was speaking of the slave boy that was sick. When Luke writes about the other slaves the Centurion has, he uses doulos. Mr. Helminiak points out that pais means “boy and can also mean servant or even son. It refers to someone young and only by way of endearment to an adult. It is a word likely to refer to a slave used for male-male sex, and there is non-biblical evidence that pais sometimes meant male lovers.” In Matthew, according to Mr. Helminiak, the word pais was also used to describe the slave.

Another point Mr. Helminiak makes it when the Centurion talks about the slave, he refers to him as being entimos. Mr. Helminiak writes “This word could mean a number of things. First, perhaps the centurion paid a high price for this slave and thus did not want to lose him. But this is an unlikely reading. The centurion was wealthy and, sad to say, could easily have gone to the market to buy another slave. Second, a servant could be valuable if he were highly skilled and experienced, holding a key role in running the household. But this interpretation is also unlikely here since the boy was young. Finally, entimos could imply an emotional bond. This is most likely meaning here.”

Now, it’s hard to really know the meaning of the text here. I do not speak Greek, so I am not a person that capable of translating the real meaning of this text. Plus I’m not a scholar, so even if I could read Greek, I don’t know if I would be able to discover the true meaning of this passage. We do know the Centurion was a man of faith and Jesus makes sure to point this out to everyone around him.

But I do think that this is an interesting interpretation of these Bible verses. Is it possible that this slave the Centurion was so concerned about really have been a sexual partner to the Centurion? Or is Mr. Helminiak completely off track. Was the slave older than Mr. Helminiak suggest and was just a valuable slave holding a key position within the Centurion home?

I do want to speak on one topic of this story that isn’t really related to homosexuality and it is something Mr. Helminiak also points. Jesus accepted the fact that slavery was alright. Today, we don’t. At least I do not believe it is an acceptable thing. Honestly, I do not believe that if Jesus was born today, when He would endorse slavery. Do you think that today, Jesus would accept homosexual relationship today if those relationships were based on faith, love, and good? Do you think Jesus would be more concerned about how one lives thier life, doing good, helping others, and having faith over whom one is attracted too?

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3 Responses to Did Jesus Encounter a Gay Couple?

  1. david wilson says:

    Then again perhaps we read things into the text that were never intended. Why must a man’s care for his servant be about money or sex – these are the ways of the world and worldly thinking. Possibly the boy was a house servant or son of a house servant and thus well known to the Centurion. The centurian was clearly following Jesus. Ultimately it was God who drew the Centurian to Jesus and he had great faith. He saw that Jesus had authority over sickness. I suggest the centurion was following Jesus teaching to love your neighbour. Eros is not the highest form of love, although the world today worships it.
    What do you think the scripture says about how a christian should serve his servant. I think of Paul’s exhortation to Phlilemon to welcome back Onesimus as a beloved brother rather than a slave.

    I suggest if the centurian was a pederast he would not bring the boy to a jewish rabbi – their understanding of a man lying with a man is clear in scripture. It is a pagan practice.

    I have a confused sexuality so am not unfamiliar with the situation but am happy to wait for God’s healing.

    Best wishes David

  2. Rick says:

    No matter what your faith is, you should ALWAYS question it! ALL faiths can be interpreted 1000 ways, it’s an undeniable fact. I am very happy to have read your post Joe! I don’t ever remember reading this in my denominations Bible. I think what is really important is how you interpret it. And I think you answered your own question.

    “Do you think that today, Jesus would accept homosexual relationship today if those relationships were based on faith, love, and good? Do you think Jesus would be more concerned about how one lives thier life, doing good, helping others, and having faith over whom one is attracted too?”

    Nothing now is like how it was during those times, but people still pick small chunks from the bible to fuel hate and discrimination. In your mind, do you think Jesus would really discredit what a great, kind, friendly, and loving person you are because you are attracted to men? Does he discredit people that marry outside their race? (bible does forbid this) I don’t think so. WHat do you think?

    I remember you telling me about this awhile ago. TTYL!

    ~ Me

  3. Mike says:

    Regardless of what the story is about, one thing is indisputable, that of the Centurion who have a deep faith and that Jesus is amazed about his faith and humility.

    My own interpretation of that story, is that Jesus stress a lot about the importance of faith, love & charity. He also make a point that we have to forgive often, not just once or twice. It’s loud and clear and obvious, that Jesus look at the heart of a person, and not who they are.

    On a personal level, I know that Jesus love me just the way I am, that there’s nothing wrong or immoral about being gay. Some are just born that way and it doesn’t matter what is being said or done, some are just gay and are to be loved and respected the way they are.

    But the difference, is that today it is hard to find a gay man with a deep faith. Notice that the issue is faith, not his sexual orientation. And I have to say that the “gay community” has failed in leadership and being supportive of each others. It has become a business driven by interests groups who control the message, sure they’ve made money, but it’s dirty money.

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