The miracles of Jesus: A centurion’s servant

Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10

Due to the minor differences in the two versions of the healing of the Centurion’s Servant one may conclude it was two different miracles. Matthew is virtually thought of as writing to the Jews and from a Jewish perspective to convince the Jewish race of the validity of Jesus. So the healing of a Centurion’s (a non-Jew) servant may seem out of character.

The first synoptic gospel never claims a Jewish presentation, but Mathew often appealed to the Old Testament prophesies, some-thing that would appeal to the Jewish population. He is the only one to record the Jewish cry at the trial of Jesus, Matthew 27:25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” These along with others is enough to convince many he is reaching out to his brethren.

But the recording of the healing of the request from the Roman Centurion’s is not the first mention of Gentle’s in this book. The Book of Matthew begins with the naming of 4 gentle women in the lineage of Jesus. The Book Also ends with the charge from Jesus to “make disciples of all nations.”

Luke on the other hand was not born a Jew (Colossians 4:11). His offering of the same story is somewhat shorter and does not carry the charge against the Jews which Matthew does. This miracle is carried only in Matthew and Luke and not Mark. Of interest is the appearance from Matthew the Centurion came in person to Jesus where as Luke speaks of the Centurion sending some Jewish elders to deliver the mes-sage.

The term Centurion is a Roman military officer who had the command of one hundred men. The Roman legions was the army of Rome. The Legions were divided into individual legions of 5,000 which were further divided in 1,000’s and the 1,000 in to groups numbering 100 of which the Centurions were responsible for. The Centurions and their groups were stationed throughout the empire in towns and cities to enforce Roman law. It would appear the Centurions were noble and honest in their duties for the most part as the New Testament presents them so. For example the Centurion here, the one at the crucifixion who recognized Jesus as the Son of God and the first Gentile convert baptized by Peter.

One matter of interest is the affection the Centurion had for his servant. The term in 8:6 under some circumstance could mean child but Luke tells us the was a servant a slave. Why would he send elders of the very nation he was holding to Roman law by his 100 men little lone go himself to ask the teacher, prophet and miracle worker to heal his much cared for servant.

Also of interest is the great faith in the abilities of Jesus. He knew Jesus would come under further scrutiny if he entered his house. In addition he asked only that Jesus speak the words and that would produce the desired results. It is this very request which caused Jesus to marvel and rebuke the Jews for their lack of faith.

Little doubt this miracle prepared the way for Peter sometime later to perceive God shows no partiality between humans. All who would obey the Son of God will receive the heavenly reward.

QUESTIONS

  1. Who was Matthews primary audience? Did he address other audiences?
  2. What town did Jesus return to for the miracle?
  3. A Centurion has charge of how many men?
  4. With whom did Jesus compare the faith of the Centurion?
  5. Why did Jesus accept the explanation of the Centurion about entering his house?
  6. What did this miracle foreshadow in the future of the kingdom?