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What the Bible says about Healing of the Centurion's Servant
(From Forerunner Commentary)

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)

Matthew 8:6

The servant is "lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented" and "sick and ready to die." Three words describe the servant's sickness: paralyzed, in pain, and danger. His paralysis could have been the result of any number of life-threatening diseases. With this paralysis came horrible pain, and with the pain came misery. "Ready to die" (Luke 7:2) reveals how grave the danger was for him. Jesus acts at the proper time to save us from suffering and danger: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

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

Matthew 8:8

The centurion's faith is commendable because he had received the Word of God. In asking Christ to heal his servant by His word, he shows that he trusted God's Word. He believes that all that is necessary is for God's Word to be spoken for healing to occur in even the most desperate case. The centurion's faith is great because it did not require the bodily presence of Christ to heal, surpassing even that of the nobleman whose son was healed (John 4:49). His faith is also shown to be greater than that of Mary and Martha, who also thought Christ had to be present to heal their brother Lazarus (John 11:21, 32).

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

Matthew 8:8

Christ compliments the centurion's faith because it is faith in His Word. When the centurion says he is unworthy of Christ's presence, he tells Him that he believed that all that He had to do was speak and the miracle would happen. To explain his understanding of the principle, the centurion says, "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, 'Go,' and he goes" (Matthew 8:9). He recognizes the power of the spoken word because he is familiar with authority, yet he also believes that Christ's word has power and authority even over disease. In asking Jesus to heal simply by speaking, the centurion shows that he accepted the authority of Christ's word. No one can have real faith if they reject the Word of God.

It is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Many people doubt whether God's Word is sufficient. If they have a problem, they run instead to hear what the world's doctors and psychiatrists have to say. Today, many professing Christian churches do not show very much confidence in God's Word either. The centurion's "only speak a word" is not an applicable command for most churches. These days, churches use a lot of entertainment to draw people into their membership, believing that it is essential to their success. Yet, "only speak a word" is the true essence of spiritual success. Without the Word of God, the church will not maintain a solid foundation of truth and grow.

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


 




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