Matthew 8:5 - 13
ESV - 5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him. 6 "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly."
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Great question as there is much to uncover and understand for us today. In biblical history at this time the centurion being a gentile was outside of the Jewish covenant of Abraham and thus considered a heathen barbarian. One reason for this view was the common barbaric, most vile and vicious acts done to any enemy that choose to oppose the glory of Rome in battle. Consider this centurion's office was often a scene as above knee deep in the blood and gore where no mercy was shown. What moved this hardened warrior to even think about asking for help, and then on behalf on his unnamed servant? He understood enough Jewish law to know that it would be unlawful for a Jew or Jesus, a Jewish rabbi to enter a infidel gentile dwelling. This centurion, a Roman warrior displaying his position and authority in full uniform, a leader of men who would follow him to their death without question. Empowered by Rome to enforce Roman rule and law where ever he stood by any means he deemed appropriate, the power of life or death! Consider he had all the glory and power of this world in his hand and yet he was like a child who longing stares into a store window for his hearts desire! He recognized that this rabbi dressed in His simple prayer shoal, the radiance of a greater authority and truth not of this world, humbly bent his knee in faith to that authority. This unnamed centurion outside of the covenant knew he was before One who was greater than all the gods of his Rome, (this act was treasonous). Did the actions of this centurion lay the foundation of the covenant extension and the later grafting in to gentile people by faith? Remember the Jews within the covenant were rejecting Jesus and would later, choose Barabbas over Him. The faith and actions of the centurion were a WOW moment for the Lord, let us strive daily to give Him more...........In the Lord's freedom warrior on.
The centurion had to be aware that he was regarded as a despised Gentile and an invader by the Jews. He had little hope that a Jewish healer would agree to help him. Jesus himself had implied that his first priority was to the Jews (Mark 7:27). Note that he asks for help, he does not demand it, and it is not for himself but for his servant. He could have brought guards as protection. He could have brought the servant on a stretcher. He came to Jesus humbly and alone and acknowledged Jesus authority. What an example for us all. Now, many were healed by Jesus touching them (Luke 8:53-55), or by touching him (Matt 9:20-22; Mark 6:56). One healing took two attempts (Mark 8:22-25). Some were healed by Jesus speaking to them, assuring them their faith had made them well (Luke 5:24; Luke 17:11-19). Here is a non-Israelite believing that Jesus could heal at a distance by simply commanding it! Not even his disciples thought Jesus could do such a thing (Mark 6:35-38 and Mark 8:2-4). It was unprecedented! No wonder Jesus was amazed. This is the level of faith and trust we should commend and aspire to ourselves (Matt 17:20), provided we first have love (1 Cor 13:2).
Hi Bruce, in my opinion the centurion being a man of great authority honoured Jesus as someone being much greater than him. I think the honour that he showed was result of the great faith he had in Jesus. Just like how children look up to their parents with the faith that their requests will be met. Just my 2 cents.
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