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.

Matt 8:5-13 (NIV)

In our verses for today Jesus not only gives big kudos to but also grants the request of a Roman centurion – a commander of a group of 100 soldiers – for his great faith as well as his humility and understanding of true Authority. This Gentile found favor in the eyes of the Lord. God has His remnant among all sorts of people. Jesus came for the Gentiles as well as for the Jewish nation. Indeed, Simeon’s words proclaimed over Christ when He was but a Babe were coming to fruition:

28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel." Luke 2:28-32 (NIV)

In his account of this same miracle, Luke tells us this Roman commander was well liked and respected by the Jewish people around Capernaum for he loved their nation and had even built their synagogue. His obvious compassion and concern for his paralyzed servant who was suffering intensely was a demonstration of his love for others. There were many that came to Jesus for personal healing or for their children to be healed; however, this was a rare instance of one coming to Christ on behalf of his servant’s malady. The humble faith of this Gentile in the achieving power of the Lord Jesus and the compassion he demonstrated amazed our Savior grabbing His attention and sent Him marveling. Wow, how wonderful to be marveled at by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and he only a Gentile – one outside of the flock of Israel. This was exactly the kind of faith Jesus was looking for and continues to look for among His people. It is no wonder why as Scripture tells us:

1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. Heb 11:1-2 (NIV)

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Heb 11:6 (NIV)

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.” George Mueller

His faith in the power of Christ to cure being evident, this centurion humbly approaches the Lord Jesus with cap in hand so to speak as he brings his request to the Master. Even the greatest of men must turn beggars when they have dealings with Christ. Our humble and persistent requests to Jesus of a physical or spiritual nature shall not fail to bring us an answer of peace. Jesus is both a wise and gracious Physician. Interestingly, after our Lord agreed to go and heal the servant, the centurion demonstrates even more humility by displaying low thoughts of himself and high thoughts of Christ. Humility is a becoming cloak for a person of high character and quality. It is to our credit to lie low in the sense of our unworthiness before God. Humble people are made more humble by experiencing Jesus’ graciousness towards them. I think of King David when he prayed:

16 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 17 And as if this were not enough in your sight, O God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men, O LORD God.” 1 Chron 17:16-17 (NIV)

“Christ is with the humble, not with those who set themselves up over His flock.” Clement of Rome

“Here is the divine antidote against the pride and restless ambition of the men of this world. Nothing is more sad than to witness a pushing, bustling, forward, self-confident spirit and style in those who profess to be followers of Him who was meek and lowly in heart. It is such a flagrant contradiction of the spirit and precepts of Christianity, and is a sure accompaniment of an unbroken condition of the soul. It is utterly impossible for any one to indulge in a boastful, pretentious, self-confident spirit, if ever he has really measured himself in the presence of God. To be much alone with God is the sovereign remedy for pride and self-complacency. May we know the reality of this in the secret of our own souls. May the good Lord keep us truly humble, in all our ways, simply leaning on Himself and his grace...” C H Macintosh

“And if you don’t lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it: if you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you don’t know Him. You were so lost that nothing could save you but the sacrifice of God’s only begotten. Think of that, and as Jesus lowered Himself for you, bow yourself in lowliness at His feet. A sense of Christ’s amazing love to us has a greater tendency to humble us than even the conscious awareness of our own guilt...Pride cannot live beneath the cross.” Charles H. Spurgeon

What I Glean

  • Great faith pleases God.
  • Humility is the proper position before a Holy God.
  • Fleshly pride is a monster and unwarranted. Everything I have has been given to me. My measurement is against God not man which always finds me wanting apart from Christ’s righteousness. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 1 Cor 4:7 (NIV)