The Centurion Story – Luke 7:1-10

In a recent posted I wrote entitled “Did Jesus Encounter A Gay Couple”, I discussed in the book ‘What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality’ by Daniel Heminiak where Mr. Heminiak wrote about the centurion and his slave boy. According to Mr. Heminiak, he suggested that the relationship between the centurion and this slave boy may have been sexual in nature. He suggested this could have been a homosexual relationship and that Jesus encountered this couple.

I would first like to thank all those who took the time to leave me a comment and provide some answers to the questions I wrote. They did help me in better understanding a few things. Please check out the preview post to see the questions and comments I am talking about here.

I really just want to take the time to discuss a few things I have learned about this story in the Bible. The most important part of this story, as my friend Mikey pointed out, is what Jesus himself said. When told of what the centurion did for the people in the area that he lived, Jesus said “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith”. Luke 7:9. Jesus focused on the man’s faith. This is the most important part of that story, the man’s faith. Mr. Heminiak missed this point entirely. This was no ordinary centurion, this centurion was a man of great faith, the likes that even Jesus himself had never seen before. How do we know this, Jesus tells us that he has never seen anyone that had this much faith.

Why is knowing that this man has an enormous amount of faith important to this story and why would this debunk what Mr. Heminiak believes to be the case to suggest this was a homosexual couple you may ask? I work a job that would be considered a lower skilled job, most likely similar to that what the slave boy may have done. The owner of the place I work has been trying to figure ways to save money, supposedly due to the current economy. One way he has done this has been to take away from the few full time hourly employees their vacation time. The owner of the place I work is not hurting for money, he is just looking to increase his profit. Now I have a friend that works in another state at a similar place of business. He was telling me about one of their competitions and how that owner of that business is treating his workers. The place he was telling me about is doing some remodeling work and is currently closed. The owner of that business is paying his employees their full pay during the time the building is being remodeled. The owner of this business doesn’t have to do this for his worker, but he is because my guess would be that he feels it’s the right thing to do. He may understand that an employee that feels valued is going to be a much harder worker than someone that doesn’t feel they are worth anything to the company.

Maybe what we have in the story of the centurion is a person that actually cares for his workers (slaves). This would be something very uncharacteristic of a centurion in Jesus time. But we do know this is no ordinary centurion. He is a man of faith! He would be the type of person that cares if someone is sick or hurt. He would be the type of person that if he could help another person out, he would. So why would it be so unthinkable to believe that this centurion knew of this boy illness or injury, heard that Jesus was in the area and felt the need to ask Jesus if he would be willing to heal the boy because the centurion valued human life.

I now believe that this story has nothing to do with homosexuality. It has to do entirely with having faith and how we are suppose to act when we have faith. We are called to love and care for the poor, the hungry, and the weak. I do not believe it would be odd for Jesus to praise someone that is living that style of life, caring for the poor, the hungry and the weak.

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3 Responses to The Centurion Story – Luke 7:1-10

  1. Mikey says:

    This story is very important for many reasons. We live in a world that tend to be selfish, self-centered, hurting for profit.

    Not everyone are like that I know, there’s some great people, and they do help others. But I think Jesus wanted to point out that those who have faith, are the ones making a big difference. They’re the ones that Jesus is happy.

  2. Steve says:

    I think your interpretation of the faith that Jesus was commmending isn’t correct. Jesus was commenting on the centurion’s faith that he could cure his boy even without going to his house, not on the Centurion’s previous good works. The reason this is important, especially to people today, is that we also should believe that Jesus can help us without literally coming to our physical house, faith alone should be enough.

    I don’t know if the Centurion was in a same-sex relationship or not, but the anger and hatred to even the idea on your forum was astounding and totally un-Christ like. Jesus constantly was accepting of outcasts, so the fact that same-sex relationships were not acceptable to the JEWISH community would not have been enogh to determine whether Jesus would have accepted it or not. He regularly went against conventional wisdom, and placed love and faith above traditional Jewish customs. And this Centurion certainly loved his slave boy. And he loved him in a way different than his other slaves. Maybe we whould be more Christ-like and tolerant, open and loving of people in a loving relationships regardless of whether conventional wisdom accepts them or not.

    To more fully understand what the relationship between the Centurion and this slave boy might have been, we need to understand what life was like for a Roman soldier and centurion. To be in the Roman army, you had to enlist for 25 years and you were not allowed to be married, have a family or children. Family and marriage committments were seen as diminishing your effectiveness as a soldier. And yet these soldiers were men, with sexual needs. The Centurions regularly kept slaves for these needs and these were often young teenage boys. Same sex relationships between older men and young boys were perfectly acceptable to both ancient Roman and Greek society despite them not being acceptable in Jewish custom. The Roman occupation of Israel had many culture clashes such as these.

    I don’t care for revisionist either, whether that revisionist is today or whether it was the original translator of the Bible from Greek to English. In both Matthew and Luke, the words used to describe the sick boy were duolos and pais. Neither of these words mean “servant” and yet this is what our English Bible uses for both. Don’t add sexuality in the Bible were it doesn’t exist, but don’t sanitize it and take it out either when it was there. In Matthew, the Centurion really said “Lord my BOY is lying sick in the house….” NOT my “servant”. Pais means child, a boy. If you don’t beleive it, look it up in a Greek-English dictionary. And when the Centurion is referring to his other “servants”, we should read the correct translation as “slaves” and not have that sanitized for our ears either. That’s the way it was originally written, not the way it was translated. It’s either God’s word or it isn’t. And if those original Greek words make you uncomfortable and are inconsistent with your beliefs, then maybe you need to reevaluate your beliefs and prejudices to see if they really are consistent with Jesus’ preaching.

    • Joe says:

      Steve,

      I would first like to thank you for your comment. I never looked at it as Jesus letting us know that he doesn’t need to be physically present to preform miracles in our lives. I agree that this is a very important message and one Jesus was sharing with us with this story. Thank you for sharing this with not only me, but anyone else that may read this.

      I also agree that people need to be more open to and accepting of what love really is. What I wrote in this post or anywhere on this blog is not to suggest what Jesus may or may not have thought. I am not in any position to claim to know what Jesus truly thought on any subject matter other then what it teaches us in the Bible. No where in the Bible does Jesus say anything on homosexuality and no where do I claim to know what Jesus really thought of it. In many posts on this site, I share my confusing about how I should live my life, whether it’s right to live a chaste life like the Church teaches us or whether the Churches interruption of homosexuality sex if wrong and that I should find someone to be with. I do feel that which ever way it is, that a relationship with another gay man is possible and should be based on love, not based on sexual needs.

      Mr. Heminiak made a similar argument in his book that we need to take into account the time period and how a Centurion lived. He acknowledged that it wasn’t uncommon for “a soldier far from home to have a male sexual companion with him.” and that “it is out of step with the harsh reality of life in the first-century Roman Empire” to suggest that the “centurion was just a good man and was trouble over the death of a sick slave boy” p. 129. I do not agree with this because a Centurion that is different then the normal. The Centurion sent Jewish elders to speak to Jesus, suggesting that there was no clash of cultures with this particular Centurion and the Jewish people in the land he over saw. We know that the Jewish elders said to Jesus “for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us” (Luke 7:5). This Centurion was not a normal centurion and for that reason I do not believe he should be lumped in with other centurion of his time. This Centurion did a lot for the people in the community he over saw and understood that Jesus was the ultimate in authority, and for these reason I think Jesus did what he did. I just do not believe that there is an evidence to suggest that this was a same-sex relationship because the story points out that this was not a normal centurion.

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