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Matthew 8:10  (King James Version)
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<< Matthew 8:9   Matthew 8:11 >>


Matthew 8:5-13

There are several discernible character traits in the centurion as described by Matthew and Luke:

First, he cares for and is concerned about his servant. Although the servant is a slave, he does not treat him as one. In fact, he is dear to the centurion, and so his suffering moves the centurion to compassion.

Second, he is humble and sees himself as unworthy as a Gentile to approach the Jew Jesus, whether personally or through the intercession of others. Luke describes this humility more vividly than Matthew does. Christ respects the humble and acts accordingly. The centurion's humility is seen in his consciousness of his own sins and the recognition of Jesus' holiness and excellence.

Third, he has obvious faith in Christ's ability to heal. He knows not to expect a "magical" cure—rubbing an idol or touching a charm. Nor does he ask for a sign that a miracle would be performed. His humility shows his out-going concern for another human being, and it is outstanding because of his rank—people with status are rarely humble. When people are given even a low position or title, they often become inflated with pride, valuing themselves of more importance and worth than is realistic.

The centurion's humility is also unusual due to his ethnicity. Roman soldiers were trained to think of themselves as superior to those whom they conquered and presided over, especially in regard to the Jews, whom they scorned. However, the centurion humbles himself significantly before the Jewish rabbi, Jesus, giving Him great honor by abasing himself to the point that he says he is not worthy even of being in His presence.

The centurion's humility teaches us that the most faithful people frequently consider themselves the most unworthy before God. In contrast, the weakest of people often deem themselves the most worthy. Likewise, a righteous person will readily admit his sinfulness, but the sinner will justify himself.

Jesus calls the centurion's act of faith "great" because he does not ask for any sign but believes in Christ's spiritual, supernatural ability. He does not expect anything visible. Jesus twice refers to a person having "great faith," and in both cases, the person is a Gentile: this Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman who appeals for her daughter's healing (Matthew 15:28). These two miracles show that faith transcends such things as race and birth privileges.

Since the centurion is a Gentile, he has no promise by covenant of God's mercy, as do the Israelites. Thus, for him to have this kind of faith is a rare and great thing. His faith sees Christ's power, and he declares His holiness as a witness to other Gentiles. His faith shows his acceptance and respect of Christ as Savior and his submission to His will. He even believes that no direct contact is necessary for Jesus to perform the miracle! The centurion sees no restrictions on Christ's power and ability to heal his servant. He understands that nothing limits God.

It is interesting that Christ marvels over the magnitude of the centurion's faith. He understands the difficulty with which humans struggle with faith—that we are visually oriented, seeing the physical first and the spiritual second. Indeed, with most, the physical is more real than the spiritual. Yet, the reality is that true power, glory, and love are spiritual. These spiritual things are more real than the physical world that we see and hear. This material world will one day pass away, but the spiritual Kingdom of God will last forever and ever (Luke 21:33; II Peter 3:10; Daniel 7:18).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Centurion's Servant (Part Two)



Matthew 8:5-13

Like the miracle of the healing of the nobleman's son (John 4:46-54), the healing of the centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10) reveals Christ as able to heal from a distance merely by the power of His word. Because of his experience as a commander, the centurion knew that it was not necessary for Jesus to come to his home to visit the sick servant and pray while standing over the afflicted. Then, as now, distance is not a factor in Christ's ability to heal; His word is sufficient whether near or far.

True faith requires no visible sign. The centurion's faith was in the spiritual capability of Christ; he had confidence in the effectiveness of Christ's word to heal the sick and dying. As a man of authority, he believed and understood that diseases had to obey Jesus' command just as his men had to obey him as their superior officer. He knew that authority transcended distance. An officer need not be personally present to command his soldiers to carry out his orders. It was sufficient for Christ to exercise His will through His word, and it is done. Nevertheless, the quick healing of a sick person from a distance is a rare occurrence in the healing miracles of the Bible (see Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Centurion's Servant (Part Three)



Matthew 8:5-13

Only Matthew and Luke record the miracle of the healing of a centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10). Both accounts indicate that the afflicted servant who needed Jesus Christ's help was young. Luke uses the Greek word doulos, meaning bond slave, someone born into slavery (Luke 7:2). Matthew, however, uses pias, meaning a child or young person (Matthew 8:6). The context indicates that this servant was not a little boy but a young man still in his teens.

The servant's master was a centurion, a Roman soldier in charge of one hundred soldiers of the Roman garrison in Capernaum. Several centurions recognized Christ's special purpose and honored Him (Mark 15:39; Acts 10:1; 22:25-26; 27:1, 43; 28:16). This miracle reveals that faith is sometimes found where we least expect it.

Although Matthew and Luke generally agree in their accounts of this incident, some differences occur. Matthew, a Jew, seems to have Israel in mind as he records Christ's somber warning to the nation not to neglect personal responsibility and to put their faith and hope in God instead of civil and religious institutions of man. They were in serious need of humility (Romans 12:16).

On the other hand, Luke, a Greek, had fellow Gentiles in mind, so excluding the warning to Israel, he instead encourages the proud Gentiles to ask for the help they needed for their problems. He does this by showing that a centurion was able to persuade the Jewish elders to help in pleading to Jesus for his servant. Humility is necessary for happiness in life (Psalm 69:32).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Centurion's Servant (Part One)



Matthew 8:5-13

Capernaum is the scene of the healing of the centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10), as it is for one-third of the 33 recorded miracles that Christ performed. This one, performed shortly after the Sermon on the Mount, is one of only two miracles that He did in the presence of and for Gentiles.

Because of the centurion's faith, humility, and love, the Jews who were acquainted with him are supportive of his efforts to plead with Christ for his dying servant's healing. The centurion's action helps to break down the barrier between Jew and Gentile there—for a short time at least.

As soon as Christ hears of the servant's serious condition and discerns the centurion's humility, He promises to come and heal him. Upon observing the centurion's faith, Jesus says, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." The healing was not slow; it did not take months or weeks or days—not even hours. Matthew writes, "His servant was healed that same hour" (Matthew 8:13). As soon as Christ accepts the centurion's humility and faith, He gives the command, and the servant is completely healed. This miracle shows that humility and faith go hand in hand and are closely connected with healing.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Centurion's Servant (Part Two)




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Matthew 8:10:

Matthew 8:5-13
Matthew 8:5-13
Matthew 8:5-13
Matthew 9:18-26
Mark :
Luke :
Luke :
Luke :
Luke :

 

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