The Centurion’s Servant Healed, Matthew 8:5-13
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came up to Him, begging Him: “Lord, my servant is lying at the house sick of palsy (paralyzed) and grievously tormented, distressed with intense pain.” (A centurion was a Roman military officer.) Jesus simply said to him: “I will come and heal him.”
The centurion taken by surprise, said: “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. I am not fit. But speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers subject to me. I say to one of them ‘Go’ and he goes. I say to another, ‘Come’ and he comes. I say to my slave, ‘Do this,” and he does it.”
When Jesus heard what the centurion said, He marveled and said to those who followed Him:
“Truly or verily I tell you, I HAVE NOT FOUND SO GREAT FAITH AS THIS WITH ANYONE, even in Israel.”
“And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Here Jesus was talking about the Jews rejecting Him and the time of the Gentiles brought forward for a season.
Then Jesus turned to the centurion and said: “Go your way; it shall be done for you as you have believed.”
And his servant was healed, restored to health at that very moment.
There is much we can learn from this healing. The man asking for healing was not even a Jew; he was a Gentile. Jesus had come for the Jews at that point and had not died yet and taken on our sins and sicknesses for the whole world, regardless of race or culture. According to that time period, he should not have even been allowed to talk with Jesus. Jesus was, as far as everyone was concerned, born a Jew. He had no business talking to a Gentile, particularly the hated Roman military man. Yet here Jesus was talking to him and sending healing his way.
The next thing we observe is that the centurion was not even asking for healing for himself; he was asking for healing for someone else. And the servant was healed by Jesus speaking the word to the Centurion that his servant was healed.
BUT the greatest thing we learn is that Jesus marvels at faith in the centurion. He marvels at one who understands authority and thus understands the authority Jesus has over sickness and disease. This centurion recognized one with authority, because he was used to authority both as one in charge and as one who submitted to authority. I believe Jesus also marvels at the man’s desire for his servant to be healed. That showed compassion and concern on the part of the centurion.
What was this centurion’s faith based on? Jesus Word! He told Jesus that all He had to do was speak the word, and it would be done. The centurion said that it was a simple fact. One who has authority speaks the command and expects it to be done. So, he said: Speak. Whatever you speak will be carried out just like the ones under me carry out whatever I speak. It was all about faith in the man called Jesus and the authority the centurion recognized He carried. Most of Jesus’ fellow countrymen did not have a clue about that authority. That is why Jesus marveled.
What a teaching on faith this scenario presents to us and what wonderful lessons we can learn about faith and healing and the word and authority.