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)
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,” was one of the most prosperous and crowded districts of Palestine.
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 was the centurion concerned about his servant, and why did he sense Jesus could help?
The centurion approached Jesus appealing to Him on behalf of his servant. The centurion’s servant was paralyzed at home and suffering terribly. No reason is given as to what caused the paralysis or how long the servant had suffered from this condition. The text also does not indicate how extensive was the paralysis.
Jesus immediately responded, ““I will come and heal him.” There was no hesitation on Jesus’ part. The Lord was ready, willing and able to travel to wherever the servant lived in order to heal him.
It must be understood that the Jews hated the Romans and their occupation of Palestine. It is probable, because of the plural pronouns in Matt. 8:10-11, that Jesus and the centurion were not alone. It is likely that a crowd of people surrounded them following Jesus’ Sermon on The Mount (Matt. 5-7) and the healing of the leper (Matt. 8:1-4). The people would not have approved of Jesus’ intention to heal a Roman’s servant.
Regardless, Jesus unhesitatingly indicated He would enter a Gentile’s home. This defied Jewish tradition that by entering a Gentile’s dwelling rendered the Jew unclean. The centurion’s response defied logic but evidenced great faith. We will consider the centurions trust in Jesus next time.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!