I came across two passages that appeared to be two different view points on a particular event. The first is in Luke 7:1-10 and the second is in Matthew 8:5-13. These passages talk about the faith of the centurion. I tried researching different commentaries, just to check if I was missing some chronological order detail. This article ( I feel has the best explanation. But then I have a question regarding to the final harmonization by the author. Why would the centurion go meet Jesus after he had told his servants, "That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you." If you have any other explanation I would love to hear it.


I like the job this author has done with harmonizing the text of Matthew and Luke. (note to readers, you should consider viewing the document referenced above to give context)  His argument that they are independent accounts–not taken for a common "Q" source seems absolutely compelling. I believe the author may take the concept of inerrancy a bit too far. In other words, I believe that when Luke or Matthew gives a version of an event, the dialogue is not necessarily a word-for-word transcript, but is rather a faithful rendering, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, of the original events. In any case, the gospels are obviously in Greek, whereas the original conversations were in Aramaic, so both Luke and Matthew are having to translate from the original.

The idea that the Centurion send his servants and later followed up by a face-to-face visit as Jesus approached his house seems like a very natural description of the events–supporting the idea that the two accounts are independent ones. As for your question about the Centurion’s statements, they seem natural to me as well. Essentially, he said to Jesus "I am not worthy for you to come to my house," and "I am not worthy, even, to come into your presence." I assume that these were sincere statements of a very humble man. Apparently, despite the fact that he felt unworthy to come into the presence of Jesus, he overcame his feelings and came before Jesus. This is a very natural thing to happen. In fact, to use a present-day analogy, I do not feel worthy to come before God, yet I do so, in prayer, every day. I would have to agree with the Centurion that I am not worthy, yet, because he has asked me to do so, I come into the presence of God (admittedly not face-t0-face) every day and pray to my Father in heaven. The point of the gospel account in both Matthew and Luke is that here is a Gentile who is more humble and more faithful in Jesus than virtually any Jew Jesus came across. In both cases, the fact that salvation is for everyone–Jews and Gentiles–to all who humbly submit to Jesus and put their faith in him is squarely in view.

John Oakes

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