What Was Jesus Thinking?

You might have thought that Jesus was not exactly interested in social justice when you read Luke’s account of Christ’s interaction with the Capernaum centurion:

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 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. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. (Luke 7)

Sure, the officer’s faith was impressive, but doesn’t it sound like the centurion was a guy, sort of like a modern business man, who approached life transactionally. He gets things done merely by saying the word. Surely, Jesus is that kind of leader, one who simply barks an order and underlings jump.

And what about those orders? Jesus did not seem to object to the hierarchy in the Roman military, or that a centurion could own slaves. And let’s not forget that often the Roman military was nasty and harsh, and that was partly responsible for its success. Then there’s imperialism, a system of oppression by today’s standards if there ever was one. Yet, Jesus overlooked those blemishes, recognized the authenticity of the centurion’s faith, and healed his slave.

On the other hand, what if the centurion had a same-sex relationship with the slave?

When the identity of the slave in the Gospel narrative of “The Healing of the Centurion’s Slave” is studied through historical-critical research, the written and earlier oral traditions of the story indicate that the miraculous act is true to the historical Jesus. Also, by exploring the slave’s identity as a slave, same-sex love interest, and military recruit—and the 1st century C.E. implications thereof—the author concludes that the historical Jesus understood the sexual relationship between the centurion and his slave, and healed the latter based on the faith of the former. Jesus never spoke negatively about homosexuality and never offered sociological or theological discourse pertaining thereto.

(When was the last time you saw “thereto” in a defense of homosexuality?)

Maybe Jesus really was woke.

3 thoughts on “What Was Jesus Thinking?

  1. If John the Baptist had thought that water baptism replaced circumcision, John the Baptist would have said so.

    Luke 3: 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 John told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” 14 Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force…”

    Jesus never said anything bad about uncircumcised people being soldiers, therefore it is also not wrong for the covenant children of Abraham to become Roman soldiers, as long as they don’t it serve as Jews but as citizens of the empire.

    Jean Lassere—You could justify anything by such reasoning in these cases. Jesus did not reproach Pilate for his presence in Palestine so He sanctioned the Roman occupation, and all military occupations generally; implicitly He must then condemn all defensive wars against a foreign invasion. Jesus did not reproach the Herodians for their servile collaboration with the Romans, so he sanctioned all collaborations, including the Vichy’s . Jesus did not reproach the Pharisees for their hostility to the Romans; so He also sanctioned patriotic resistance.to the invader. He did not reproach His disciple Simon for having offered violent resistance to the Romans, so He must have sanctioned all resistance movements. He did not ask Zacchaeus to give up his job as head of the publicans; so He approved of the Roman occupation, its system of collecting taxes, and implicitly a powerful nation’s right to colonise and exploit a weaker. He did not rebuke Pilate for having massacred the Galileans in the middle of their sacrifices (Luke 13:3)

    Acts 16: 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because all of us are here!” 29 Then the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the message of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house.

    As long as we are arguing from silence, this Acts text proves that it’s not necessary to talk about Christ’s death (for the elect or also for those who perish) when we give the gospel message of Christ’s Lordship . Maybe it even proves that it’s not essential to share the gospel with a household if you share the gospel with the head of the household. But of course those in that covenant household cannot find assurance “merely” in the finished death of Christ.

    Arguments silent about antithesis “keep within the bounds of the confession”. Imputation of Christ’s death is not denied, but only other ” non-forensic non-fictional realities” like the work of the Spirit transforming us “enough” can give us assurance that we shall meet the conditions for the future aspect of justification …

    But I do not think that the way Gaffin and Tipton say it is exactly the way the Westminster Confession says it.


    Liked by 1 person

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