Luke 7:7

ESV Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.
NIV That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.
NASB for that reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You; but just say the word, and my servant shall be healed.
CSB That is why I didn't even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.
NLT I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.
KJV Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

What does Luke 7:7 mean?

A centurion sends word to Jesus which expresses faith and humility. The man assumes Jesus is powerful enough to heal his dying servant without entering his house. The centurion doesn't believe he is worthy to show hospitality to a Jewish rabbi who has proven to be so holy. Jesus responds with marvel that this Gentile expresses more faith than any Jew He has ever met (Luke 7:9). Later, Luke provides a direct contrast in a Jewish Pharisee with access to proof that Jesus is the Messiah (John 5:39–40). This religious leader invites Christ to a meal but gives Him a somewhat cool welcome and doubts that Jesus is even a prophet (Luke 7:36–50).

Unfortunately, understanding of this verse has been derailed by speculation about the centurion's relationship with his servant. This has come in a modern attempt to suggest Jesus affirmed homosexual relationships. Luke 7:2 uses the word doulos for the servant, here the centurion is quoted to use the term pais. Doulos can mean any servant or slave. Pais has more of the meaning of a social inferior and can refer to a child or a servant.

Homosexuality was common in the Roman Empire, particularly sexually abusive interactions between men and young slaves. Some modern critics insist the centurion and servant have a sexual relationship. They further stretch their interpretation to deduce that because Jesus healed the servant and praised the faith of the centurion, He approves of same-sex relationships.

Two considerations counter this error. Frist, the Jewish elders praise the character of the centurion (Luke 7:4–5). At this point in history, homosexuality was clearly and universally abhorred by Jewish culture. It's doubtful religious leaders would associate with, praise, or accept a synagogue from someone who so openly engaged in homosexual acts. This makes it extremely unlikely that the scenario involves a man and his male lover, rather than a master and his servant.

Second, the Gospels rarely record Jesus initiating a conversation about a specific person's sin. This is especially true if they are not a religious leader or one of His disciples. He will address sin if it is relevant to the conversation (Matthew 19:16–22) or brought directly to His attention (John 8:1–11). Even then, He responds with grace. Even if the centurion and servant were in a consensual same-sex relationship, it would be consistent with other accounts for Jesus to praise the centurion's faith—expressed in his humility and respect for Jesus' power—without mentioning his sin. He is known to eat with tax collectors and sinners for the purpose of calling them to repentance (Luke 5:27–32).
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