Jesus and the Roman Centurion

From Deposit Photos. Author ginosphotos1

* Admiration / astonished / marveled is from the Greek word 'aina' G2296; to wonder, by implication to admire / marvel


When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering." Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."

The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go', and he goes; and that one, 'Come', and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this, and he does it."

When Jesus heard this, he was astonished* and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour. (William Barclay calls it


Matthew 8:5-13 New American Standard

What is going on here? Well, there's a lot going on here.

What gains the admiration of Jesus? Faith. Faith from a distance!

Isn't that what prayer is? Faith that God will hear our prayers? . . .of course when we are Christians the Holy Spirit is within us helping our prayers.

Centurions were the back bone of the Roman army. They each were in charge of 100 men. This particular centurion was concerned about his servant. That was not the normal attitude of a Roman man toward his slave. Slaves were considered property only.

Then there is the issue of Jesus being a Jew and the centurion being a Gentile. According to Jewish law, a Jew could not enter the house of a Gentile for their houses were 'unclean'. That would not have mattered to Jesus. Perhaps He was testing the centurion's faith.

But what is upsetting is the picture Jesus described of the banquet. The jews believed when the Messiah came there would be a great banquet where all the jews would sit down to feast. (Obviously they did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.)

In the last paragraph Jesus is saying many Gentiles will come from all over the world to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the feast.

But many Israelites . . Jews . . will be cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Will you be at the wedding supper of the Lamb? (Revelation 19:9)

The path to get there goes through the precious blood of Jesus.

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