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,[a] ‘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[b] 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.” (Matthew 8:5-13 ESV)
Matthew groups together nine stories containing ten specific miracles in chapters 8–9. There are three miracles in 8:1–17, teaching on true discipleship (8:18–22), and then three more miracles (8:23–9:8). This is followed by Jesus’ teaching on true discipleship (9:9–17), and finally three more miracle stories; one of which includes two miracles (9:18–33). Today, we begin examining the miracle of Jesus healing a centurion’s servant.
Following Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His healing of a leper (Matthew 8:1-4), He entered into the town of Capernaum. It stood on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The “land of Gennesaret,” near, if not in, which it was situated, was one of the most prosperous and crowded districts of Palestine.
“This city lay on the great highway from Damascus to Acco and Tyre. It has been identified with Tell Hum, about two miles south-west of where the Jordan flows into the lake. Here are extensive ruins of walls and foundations, and also the remains of what must have been a beautiful synagogue, which it is conjectured may have been the one built by the centurion (Luke 7:5), in which our Lord frequently taught (John 6:59; Mark 1:21; Luke 4:33),” explains the Easton Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
After the Lord’s expulsion from Nazareth (Matt. 4:13–16; Luke 4:16–31), Capernaum became Jesus’ “own city.” It was the scene of many acts and incidents in His life (Matt. 8:5, 14, 15; 9:2–6, 10–17; 15:1–20; Mark 1:32–34, etc.). However, the impenitence and unbelief of its citizens, following the many evidences Jesus gave among them of who He was and His mission, brought down upon them a prophecy of judgement (Matt. 11:23).
When Jesus entered the town, an unidentified Roman Centurion approached Him. Centurions commanded 100 Roman soldiers. They were responsible for keeping law and order, which was a high priority for the Roman government. The Jews hated Rome’s presence in their land and towns.
However, the centurion was not concerned about law and order, or any other political or cultural issue, when he approached Jesus. He was concerned about one thing; his servant. Why the centurion was concerned about his servant, and why he sensed Jesus could help, will be examined when next we meet.
“In Christ, God is keeping His promise to bless all the families of the earth in Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3). The conversion of the nations to Christ is among the most tangible proofs for the veracity of the Bible. What Jesus has predicted is coming to pass — the Gentiles are coming to faith in Jesus. Think today on Jesus’ transformation of the nations and be encouraged that He has not left His people without a message,” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!