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

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 8:6

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)

Luke 7:2

The centurion's servant "was dear to him." His affection for his young servant suggests that he thought of him with respect and as important. The centurion's character reveals that he not only thought of his servant as valuable, but also that he was concerned for his well-being as a key member of his household. Apparently, the servant was cherished by the centurion because he had endeared himself to his master through noble service. He must have been diligent and faithful to his master since he received his master's esteem and concern. A good employee has a good relationship with his employer and vice-versa.

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

Luke 7:10

Those who were sent to the house where the sick servant had been found him completely healed. The evidence of the servant's healing was abundant, excellent, and very visible; they did not need to look through a microscope to prove that he was healed. He had been paralyzed, in great pain, and near death, but now he was completely well. They needed no other proof to convince them that a genuine miracle had occurred.

Jesus provided many infallible proofs during his ministry that confirm his supernatural ability and divine purpose (Acts 1:3). The world makes every effort to discredit God the Father and Jesus Christ and their miraculous works, when the proof of their sovereignty and power are seen in everyday things. "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20-21, ESV). Do we see God at work in our lives?

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


 




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