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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Matt 8:5-11 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. (Also see Matt. 8:12-13; Luke 7:1-10)

Most biblical scholars agree that thes event following the selection of the twelve apostles and preceding the healing of the centurion's servant, was Jesus' well-known Sermon on the Mount that took place on a sloping hill located approximately seven miles south of Capernaum and near to the Sea of Galilee. A complete lesson study of that event, as recorded in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, can be found under the heading "The Sermon on the Mount." Therefore we continue this chronology with the subject lesson as it appears in the Gospel of Matthew, with references to the same event found in Luke 7:1-10. The lesson text takes up as Jesus, having left the mount near the Sea of Galilee, re-enters Capernaum. As He was entering the city, a Roman military officer came unto Him. Because Palestine was under Roman rule at this time, there were members of the army in most, if not all, cities within this Jewish nation. This man was a Roman soldier holding the rank of a centurion, commanding 100 soldiers. He sought Jesus out, no doubt having heard of His miraculous healing powers over sickness, disease, bodily malformations, and demonic spirits. The centurion beseeched Jesus to intercede on behalf of his servant that lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. Luke's account of this event says that the centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die (Vs. 2).

Jesus replied, according to the lesson text, I will come and heal him. However, Luke says that something else took place before Jesus' compassion led Him to heal the servant. He says that the centurion, when he heard of Jesus, sent the elders of the Jews to plead with Him to heal his servant (Vs. 3). They gladly did so because this centurion was a friend of the Jews, saying that he was worthy of his request because he loved the Jews and built them a synagogue. And then, after their plea for the centurion, Jesus went with them to meet him (See Vss. 4-6). Although the Jewish elders thought this Roman soldier to be worthy of Jesus' healing power, the centurion, himself, humbly admitted that he was unworthy of this blessing. Instead of the trouble of going to his home to visit the deathly sick servant, the centurion asked Jesus to merely speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

Although it was not the same as the saving faith we know today, the centurion had complete confidence in the righteous power of Jesus to heal his servant. Because of this, Jesus said to all present on that day, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. This is a general statement made of the nation of Israel. Although there were a few exceptions, the children of Israel, as a whole were void of the same faith demonstrated by this centurion. And of those Jews that reject Jesus as the Son of God, and the promised Savior of the world, He says this of their destiny: the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Vs. 12). The destiny of unbelieving Jews, which Jesus gave this assurance, was not earthly prisons that were constructed underground and void of any light, but final judgment that will shut their souls out of experiencing the light, peace, and joy of heaven. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour (Vs. 13). Such miracles as this can never be "preformed" by so-called "healing preachers" of any age. This would defy their deception. This miracle demonstrates to the world, both then and now, infallible proof that Jesus is God's Son, and our Savior. As did the centurion, so should we, depend upon His power to both heal the physical body and save the spiritual soul.