Chapter

Luke 7:6

ESV And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.
NIV So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: 'Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.
NASB Now Jesus started on His way with them; but already, when He was not yet far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, 'Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to enter under my roof;
CSB Jesus went with them, and when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, "Lord, don't trouble yourself, since I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.
NLT So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, 'Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor.
KJV Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:

What does Luke 7:6 mean?

A centurion has sent elders to ask Jesus to heal his dying servant. The elders tell Jesus that the centurion is a generous man who built the synagogue. Healing his servant is a just reward for his service (Luke 7:1–5). Jesus agrees to heal the servant but as He approaches, the centurion sends other friends to stop Him.

The humility of the centurion is striking. He is a military commander with significant authority over the region. Though a Gentile, his respect for Jewish culture goes beyond building the synagogue. He assumes no self-respecting Jewish rabbi would condescend to enter his home (John 18:28). The centurion didn't feel worthy to speak with Jesus in person, which is why he initially sent Jewish elders. His respect for Jesus and His power is such that he assumes Jesus could heal the servant from a distance. This is a level of faith Jesus honors above that of any Jew He has met (Luke 7:7–10). The centurion's attitude is opposite of that of Simon the Pharisee who shows Jesus the bare minimum of social niceties (Luke 7:44–46).

In the story of the centurion's faith, this is the second variation from the phrasing offered in Matthew's account. First, Luke states that the centurion sent Jewish elders of the city of Capernaum to Jesus (Luke 7:3) while Matthew states the centurion went, himself (Matthew 8:5). Now, as Jesus comes toward the house, Luke says the centurion sends friends to meet Him while Matthew says the centurion speaks directly (Matthew 8:8). Matthew's phrasing is no different than modern people speaking of national leaders communicating, while knowing that emissaries and ambassadors are the ones literally having conversations.

Luke's readers would have more readily understood that cultural context. The centurion is either a patron or a benefactor of the city. A patron is a man of means who helps clients who need loans or legal help and, in return, the clients run errands or complete small tasks. A benefactor completes larger favors for the public, like building a synagogue (Luke 7:5). When a patron or a benefactor sends a client to do something in their name, the authority is the same as if he had been there, himself. Despite the minor differences in language, this is the same story as Matthew 8:5–13.

John 4:46–54 is easily confused with this account, but it an entirely different story. Here, the centurion insists that Jesus not come to his house; he didn't deserve the honor of Jesus' presence. In John, the official insists that Jesus does come, but believes Jesus when He says the son will live and is willing to go back to his home without Jesus.
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