Jesus’ Healing Word (Matthew 8:5-13)
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Jesus Healing Word
Matthew 8:5-13 (Pastor Brian)
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
7 Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
8 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. 9 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.”
10 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. 11 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. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 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.
Jesus entered Capernaum Matthew 4:13 – that was where Jesus dwelt.
A Centurion (officer in the Roman army – leader of 100 men, part of the occupation of Israel – a Gentile, probably not very popular (many Jews hated the Romans for occupying Jerusalem)) – this man came to Jesus (a Jewish teacher and rabbi) for his servant (not himself).
Whenever the NT mentions a centurion, there is something to admire.
This one came to seek the help of Christ for his slave and uttered the remarks we see here.
At the crucifixion, another centurion observed the death of Jesus and said, “Truly this was the son of God.” Many had mocked him, but the centurion saw him utter his last words “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they do” and realized he was the Son of God.
Cornelius, another centurion, was a good man, able to minister to the poor, friendly with the Jews, and had a visitation from an angel and said, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up before God.”
We know that God also orchestrated things so that Peter was instructed to go to his house and show him more fully the way to salvation. He was the first Gentile to be baptized into the church at that time.
Another, involved with Paul – after he was arrested (falsely) for taking Greeks into the tabernacle. He was ordered to be flogged, but Paul confronted the centurion there about it, “Is it lawful to flog a Roman citizen?” The centurion stood up for him and those who were to flog him stepped back. So, Paul was spared due to his citizenship and the advice and counsel given by the centurion.
Acts 23, there are two centurions taking Paul (and protecting him) to the Governor Felix.
Another, Julius, in Acts 27:1-28 was responsible to take Paul to Rome. He acted capably and was interested in what Paul had to say, and he saved Paul from the hands of the soldiers in the hour of the shipwreck. They had planned to kill the prisoners, but the centurion had wanted to spare Paul.
So the centurions mentioned in the NT seem to be honorable and good men.
This one, came pleading for his servant who was very sick. It is interesting that he was so concerned for his slave. Under Roman law, the master could kill his slave, and it was expected that he would esp if the man could no longer work.
However, this centurion came entreating Jesus (pleading) for his slave.
Jesus immediately said, “I will go.”
This was against Jewish custom, for a Jew to enter a Gentile house (not against God’s law, but against custom). The centurion sensed this and said, “I’m not worthy.”
He realized it might have been awkward for Jesus – a Jew – to not want to enter a Gentile home (but of course, Jesus, wouldn’t feel that way). The centurion said, “Speak a word, and he will be healed.” He recognized the authority of Christ – believing that he could heal with his word, just as easily as with his touch (last time we looked at Jesus healing the leper with a touch – Matthew 8:1-4). In the case of the leper, he touched the untouchable. In this case, he speaks a word.
“Because I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me.”
He understood the military chain of command, the orders from above were to be obeyed without question. Jesus remarked elsewhere, “I do nothing of my own will, I do the will of my Father.” He also was obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit.
So, the centurion recognized that Jesus was under authority, but also that Jesus HAD authority over nature, disease, sin.
The authority of God of disease, demons, and all else would flow through Christ.
v. 10-13, Jesus praised the centurion’s faith and healed the servant. He “marveled” (filled with wonder and astonishment) and said, “Truly, I have not found such great faith, even in Israel. Many will sit with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom,… but the sons will be cast out…”
Jesus said, “Go, and it will be done as you have believed” and it was done that very hour.
This great faith, worthy of praise from Jesus was from the centurion – even more so than among the people of Israel.
“many from east to west” – this was a radical idea to the Jews – they thought that all Jews would be there, but no Gentiles. But Jesus corrects this misunderstanding. The Jews who didn’t believe (the “sons”) would be cast out into the darkness with “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” and the Gentiles (those who believed) would be allowed in.
“Gnashing of teeth” = only in great pain and agony – in hell there is ALWAYS gnashing of teeth.
We see Jesus was unafraid to speak of hell and did so more than any others in the Bible. Some ministers never mention hell. Some say, “If you don’t believe in Christ, you’ll be sent to THAT place that we shouldn’t speak of.”
Jesus used plain words, and there was no mistaking what he meant. “If you don’t believe I AM, you’ll be lost in your sins.”
He came from heaven to show the people the way to heaven.
He was the healer of bodies (leper, centurion’s servant), but also the saver or our souls. After we die, our souls will live on in one place or another – heaven or hell.
The centurion at the cross, for example, must have truly recognized what was going on.
1. Faced our guilt
A man sped down the highway, stopped by a police officer, and said, “Well, there are so many accidents, I was rushing to get out of here…” – he rationalized his guilt.
A man had his machine fixed, but never received a bill. He sent a letter saying, “where’s my bill for the repairs?” but the company said, “We have no record of anything needed repairs.” (denial of guilt)
A man stole a watch, and later gave some money to repay it. He tried to postpone his guilt.
But for us, our guilt, our judgment, our time is coming, and Jesus faced our guilt for us, he erased the litany of things that caused us to be guilty. He took it away from us. He faced it, born our sin, because leprous, our substitute, taking our place on the cross in death.
“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.”
He faced our sin.
2. Forgave our sin.
“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
3. Forgot our sins.
By the erasure of the statutes that were against us, God would also forget our sins.
- Jesus faced our guilt
- Forgave our sins
- God forgot our sins
“I will remember them … NO MORE.”
That’s what makes salvation so precious. That the omniscient God can choose to forget (or not remember) our sins.
Q: Have we believed that Jesus has faced, forgiven, forgotten our guilt?
That’s what the good news is.
We have put our trust in the living God. “that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
I was brought up in a very liturgical church, and we were taught something similar to what we’ve heard. “I’m not worthy for you to enter my house, just say the word and I’ll be healed.”