Did Jesus endorse homosexuality in Matthew 8:5-13?

I recently got a very specific challenge from an atheist/agnostic friend who claims that the Bible is not clear on homosexuality, and basically that it is us Christians who make it to be a sin out of hate. Here is what he says about Matthew 8:5-13 (Jesus heals a Centurion’s Servant):

“Consider the Latin word servus and the Greek words* dolos* and pais. Servus means any slave or bondsman, as does dolos, but pais refers to a love-slave, whose service is not to labor in the field or street but in the bed. The Romans used servus for both, and thus you, translating from the Latin, take both as ‘slave’ or ‘servant’, but the Greeks had greater nuance. Matthew 8:5-13 contains both dolos and pais in the Greek, the centurion speaking of his authority over his many doloi, but it is his *pais *who lies suffering, and it is love for his pais that led your Yeshua to heal said sufferer. Yeshua blessed a pair of men not for the care of a master for his servant, but for the care of a man for his mate.”

I am fairly certain that there is a reasonable explanation, and I am not about to give up the teaching of the church on this issue, but I am also unsure how to respond, since I’m not well-versed in historical linguistics, or anything of the kind. Can you help me?

The claim that *pais * only has a sexual connotation is simply false. A simple look at a Bible Concordance will reveal its range of meanings. The Greek noun *pais *is used in the New Testament many times and has a range of meanings that include “adolescent,” “child” and “servant.” In the the Greek translation of the Old Testament *pais *appears numerous times and it always refers to a “servant.” So clearly it had other normative meanings outside of its use to describe those in a sexual relationship.

We know that the person healed is a servant because Luke 7:2 uses the word doulos (which exclusively means servant/slave) to set up the scene. Without the use of *doulos * then the centurion’s plea to heal his *pais *would have been ambiguous and the story easily could have been entitled: “The Healing of the Centurion’s Child.”

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