Category: Research

FAQ: Did Jesus Really Save a Gay Couple?

Note: This is an FAQ to the article written here.

What is this claim about Jesus saving a gay couple?

In the Gospels, a story is found of Jesus being approached by a centurion. The centurion is trying to get Jesus to heal his servant, who is back home dying. Jesus rushes to help, but the centurion says that he (Jesus) doesn’t have to go all the way; if he just says the word, the servant will be healed. Jesus marvels at the centurion’s faith and says the servant is healed. And so he was.

Verses, please!

Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10, John 4:46-54

How do the versions of the story differ?

The shortest version of the story is found in Matthew and is basically reported in shorthand above. It ends with an anti-Semitic rant about the grim future of the land of Israel that is missing in the other two versions and is characteristic of Matthew.

The story in Luke is very similar to that in Matthew, except it introduces elders who plead with Jesus on the centurion’s behalf and vouch for him, as he has been generous to the (Jewish) community. Also, while in Matthew Jesus and the centurion talk directly and freely, in Luke the centurion sends friends to talk with Jesus, who though say exactly what the centurion said in Matthew.

In John, the story is modified, to the point that most commentators deny it’s the same miracle. In it, the centurion becomes a royal official, while the servant, the official’s son. Also, the comment on the centurion’s faith turns into a simple statement about the whole household converting. (more…)

The Betrayal at Gethsemane

I am reading Christopher Moore’s Lamb, an exciting and amusing book, and the best possible introduction to a new author. I am not very far into it, having barely read to the point where Joshua is back from Kabul, but it got me thinking about Bible classes and Bible studies.

I got my old Bible out (it’s not that old, it just looks like it is because I like thumbing through it a lot) and read randomly. I hit one of my favorite passages, the Naked Man in Mark:

A young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen [cloth]. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen [cloth] and ran off naked. (Mark 14:48-52) 

I always found this passage fascinating: the young man is not identified, never shows up before, never shows up later, and serves absolutely no function in the Gospel. How on Earth did he survive the successive edits and copying efforts in the centuries between Mark’s author and the printing press?


Woes of the Pharisees

The usual dramatic name for something that is common to Luke and Matthew, but is not in Mark. This is a list of things Yeshua hates (it's the word he uses) about the Pharisees. The one that rocked me when I read it is the following:

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.


Time Frame of Ministries

John 8:57 has the Jews say that Jesus was not yet 50 when he came to Jerusalem. (They mock him for claiming to have seen Abraham). If that is the case, then Jesus was probably close enough, but not yet 50; maybe in his late fourties?

That is of importance, because the Gospels constantly talk about this generation as the target of the words of Jesus. And while Paul portrays himself as the apostle to the Gentiles, nothing in the Gospels mentions him; there is though a reference to a mission to the entire world, but it surely reads like a late addition.


The Naked Young Man in Mark 14:51-52

I was reading Mark again, the shortest of the Gospels. I reached the passage where Jesus is on the Mount of Olives, getting ready for the last days. The emotions are tense: the High Priest comes with armed soldiers to arrest Jesus; Jesus himself has not slept in days, and has urged his disciples to pray; Judas Iscariot is getting ready for the betrayal that Jesus already prophecied.

Luke has a better account of the story. He will mention that Peter struck one of the soldiers with a sword, cutting off the soldier’s ear. Jesus will reprimand him and heal the wound, while commenting on the cowardice of the High Priest, who could have arrested Jesus at any time in the Temple, but didn’t do so to avoid public uproar.

Yet, despite the briefness of the account, Mark finds the time to add two verses that baffle me:

And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:
And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

(This is from KJV Book of Mark.)