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MATTHEW - Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand!
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Matthew
PART 2 - Christ teaches and Ministers in Galilee (Matthew 5:1 - 18:35)
B - The Miracles of Christ in Capernaum and its Surroundings (Matthew 8:1 - 9:35)

2. Christ Heals the Centurion’s Servant (Matthew 8:5-13)

MATTHEW 8:5-13
5 When he came into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking him, 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant lies in the house paralyzed, grievously tormented.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 The centurion answered, “Lord, I’m not worthy for you to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and tell another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and tell my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to those who followed, “Most certainly I tell you, I haven’t found so great a faith, not even in Israel. 11 I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, 12 but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way. Let it be done for you as you have believed.” His servant was healed in that hour.
(Mark 6:6; Luke 7:1-10; 13:28-29; John 4:46-53)

The Jewish custom considers every Gentile unclean and impure like a leper. The cure of the centurion’s servant meant a new attack by Christ against the complex interpretations of the Law of Moses, for He received the Roman officer, an occupier of His country, in front of all the people. This proved that the gospel was not confined only to the Jewish people, but also to the gentiles.

This officer was the greatest man in Capernaum, representing the occupying authority. He came to Jesus, the healer, asking Him to heal his servant and confessed openly his unworthiness saying, “I am not worthy that You should come under my roof.” He accepted the Jewish custom that Jesus was not allowed to lower Himself and enter the house of a Gentile. He did not want to embarrass Christ. This indicates that he was wise and humane, that he respected the custom of the Jews whom the Romans despised, and considered his servant as one of his sons in indication of his humble love and care for his servants.

Though he was a Roman centurion, and his dwelling among the Jews was a badge of their subjection to the Roman yoke, yet Christ, who was “King of the Jews” favored him. By this He teaches us to do good to our enemies and not to limit ourselves in national enmities. Though he was a Gentile, yet Christ met with him publicly and answered his request openly.

Furthermore, we find that the Roman centurion believed in Christ’s power to cure every disease. He orders the spirits and the illnesses as a commander orders his soldiers to go, and they obey him. This belief certainty grew in the centurion as he watched Jesus and collected reports and information about His acts and sayings, and ascertained that this Nazarene had great spiritual authority over spirits, demons and diseases. He knew that His word was mighty, that it was not necessary for Him to come into the house to cure the sick. From His distant place He could but speak His word and it was sure to be done, for all the heavenly authorities are at His disposal.

Christ was impressed with this great faith, which He did not find among His own followers and people. May we follow this commander, become humble, love our servants, and consider ourselves unworthy that Christ should come under our roof. At the same time, we should believe that Jesus loves us and wants to help us. Thus we commit ourselves to Him, experience the realization of His heavenly powers in our friends and our lives and confess true faith in the proclamation of Jesus on the heavenly facts. Jesus acknowledged eternal salvation to him who comes to Him. He revealed later on that the believers would rest in heaven and sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the presence of God, the center of our hope. Yet, those who do not believe in the power of Christ will turn away into continuous despair, inasmuch as they did not accept God’s love.

The paralysis disabled the servant from doing his work and made him as troublesome and tedious as any illness could, yet he did not turn him away when he was sick. He did not send him to his relatives, nor let him lie neglected, but sought out the best relief he could for him. The servant could not have done more for the master, than the master did here for the servant. The centurion’s servants were dutiful to him, and here we see what made them so, their chief was merciful kind to them. As we should not despise the cause of our servants, when they contend with us, so we should not despise their case when God contends with them. We are made in the same mould, by the same hand, and stand upon the same level with them before God, even if they come from developing countries.

The centurion did not apply to witches or fortune-tellers for his servant, but to Christ. The palsy was a disease in which the physician’s skill commonly failed. It was therefore a great evidence of his faith in the power of Christ, to come to Him for a cure, which was above the power of natural means to effect. The piety of the Law alone does not grant salvation to sinners. His commitment to Jesus is the qualification to eternal salvation. Jesus immediately cured his servant in spite of the distance between them. Here we learn that time or place does not bind Christ. He is the Lord of the universe and can cure us, save us and sanctify us today also, for He is seated at the right hand of His Father in His throne. He is waiting for us to come near God in faith asking Him to cure our relatives and friends, that He may answer our prayer immediately in His eternal love.

Many Jews who persist in unbelief, though they were by birth “Children of the kingdom,” will be cut off from being members of the church of Christ. “The kingdom of God,” of which they boasted that they were the children, shall be taken from them, and they shall be rejected. In the great day it will not avail men to have been “children of the kingdom,” either as Jews or as Christians, for men will then be judged, not by what they were called, but by what they were. “If a son, then an heir” (Galatians 4:7). But many merely claim to be children. They live in the family, but belong not to it and will not receive of the spiritual inheritance. Being born of professing parents gives us a spiritual blessing, but if we rest in that and have nothing else to show for heaven, we shall be cast out.

It is understood from Matthew 8:5-13, that the centurion came to Christ pleading with Him to cure his servant, and when Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him,” the centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.”

However, Luke 7:2-10 mentions that the centurion sent elders of the Jews to Christ, and that when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.”

The answer to what appears to be a contradiction is that Matthew attributes the centurion as the one pleading with Christ because the centurion commissioned the elders, on his behalf, to speak with Christ. It was said that Solomon built the temple, while he did not build it by himself, but entrusted others with it. A similar statement in John 4:1 reports that Jesus was baptizing. Then a parenthetically explanation in John 4:2 states it was not Jesus Himself but His disciples. It was said that Pilate scourged Jesus. He did not but his soldiers did. Accordingly what the elders of the Jews asked of Christ was attributed to the centurion, but his words “I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof” were spoken by him to Christ. First, through his friends, when Christ was not far from his house, as Luke mentions, and afterwards he spoke them himself when he received Him near the house. However, Jesus healed His servants according to the faith of the centurion.

PRAYER: We worship You, O Heavenly Father, because You chose us in Christ to be one with the saints in heaven. Please forgive us our little faith and our weak confidence. Teach us to trust your readiness to cure us and our friends of unbelief and sin. Create in us humbleness, brokenness and real love for others that we may persistently seek their salvation in You.


  1. Why was the centurion’s faith great?


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