Reading the Word
Matthew 8:5–13 (ESV)
5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.
Parallel Text: Luke 7:1-10
Understanding and Applying the Word
This is an amazing exchange. A centurion was a Roman soldier. The title comes from the fact that he would have had one hundred men under his authority. The Jewish people despised the Romans because they were thought of as oppressors of Israel, unclean Gentiles, and the enemy. The Jewish people would not have been quick to help such a man.
The centurion soldier went to Jesus and asked him to heal his servant who was at home. Jesus agreed to go to the centurion’s servant, but the soldier did not find himself worthy to have Jesus visit his home. Instead, he asked if Jesus would simply exercise his authority without visiting. This soldier understood the kind of power and authority belonged to Jesus! In fact, Jesus commented that he had not seen the kind of faith this Gentile soldier had in all of Israel. The Jewish people, the people of God, had not received Jesus in this manner!
The Roman centurion’s faith is demonstrated in his belief that Jesus had the power and authority to heal his servant. It is also evident in the title that he uses when speaking to Jesus. He calls him “Lord” multiple times. And lastly, this soldier was willing to travel to see Jesus, cross cultural and racial barriers, and humbly ask for Jesus’ help. He believed and his belief showed in his actions. How is your belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord evident in your life?
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