TEXT: Matthew 8:5-13
5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8 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.
9 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.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled [a Greek word which means to ‘wonder at’ or express ‘admiration’ for], and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
13 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.
As we approach Billy Graham’s birthday celebration, I want to share something from the evangelist whom God made great regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said, “The Christian life is dependent upon faith. We stand on faith; we live on faith. Faith is loved and honored by God more than any other single thing. The Bible teaches that faith is the only approach that we have to God. No man has sins forgiven, no man goes to heaven, no man has assurance of peace and happiness, until he has faith in Jesus Christ.”
In this passage, we have another man coming to Jesus expressing an urgent need for healing just as the leper had. While the stories are similar, the characters in them could not be more different. The first was an outcast and one who had no status in society at all. The other, the man before us today, was quite well-to-do and had a societal position that commanded respect from those around him, Jew and Gentile alike. Yet, both of these men — the leper and the Centurion — had to come to Jesus for the meeting of their needs.
In order to gain an understanding of the context of this passage, allow me to share with you from Dr. John Walvoord and Charles Dyer’s commentary on Matthew: “On entering Capernaum Jesus was met by a centurion, a Roman soldier. Though Matthew describes the account as if the centurion personally appeared to Jesus, Luke adds an additional detail. The centurion didn’t approach Jesus personally but rather ‘sent to him elders of the Jews.’ He must have been both a God-fearer and a man of some financial means because this delegation told Jesus, ‘He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.’ The beautiful limestone remains of the synagogue seen in Capernaum today dated to the Byzantine period, several hundred years after the time of Jesus. But those remains rest on a simple foundation of basalt stone that dates to the first century, evidence of the more humble economic status of the town during that time, which depended on the generosity of a God-fearing Gentile for its synagogue.
“The centurion requested that Jesus heal his servant, who was paralyzed and in great pain. [The word palsy indicates a kind of paralysis.] The servant is called in Greek, a ‘pais,’ meaning a child, but the word is sometimes used of adult servants. Jesus promised to come and heal the servant; the word “I” in verse 7 is in the emphatic position in the Greek text and could be translated, ‘I myself.’ Some see this as a question, ‘Should I come and heal him myself?’
“Whether it was a question or statement on Jesus’ part, He got the reply He was looking for. The centurion’s faith was in stark contrast to the unbelief of the Jews in Jesus’ adopted hometown of Capernaum. In reply, the centurion declared himself unworthy for Jesus to come into his house. Again, Luke indicates that the centurion did this by sending ‘friends’ as intermediaries, ‘for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.’ The man then made a statement of his faith in Jesus’ power that amazed the Savior: ‘But say the word, and let my servant be healed.’ Interestingly, when Jesus spoke of the faith of the disciples or of Israel, He often expressed His amazement at their unbelief. In this instance Jesus turned to the crowd following Him and said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.'”
As we close, I want to briefly point out that the centurion, the Gentile general, expressed a similar faith as the leper. When he came to Jesus (or sent intermediaries to Jesus), he did not express doubt in Jesus’ abilities. He knew that Jesus could heal his servant. He only stated his problem, “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.” And he expected a solution, healing from Jesus. We can learn a lesson from both the leper and the centurion. God honors faith in Him. He is pleased when we ask not, “Lord, can you?” but, “Lord, will you?”
Margaret E. Barber wrote:
“Ask in faith,” the Name of Jesus
All your plea before the throne;
As you trust, the Lord will whisper,
“See, my child, the work is done.”
“Ask in faith,” God waits to answer
Each petition, Spirit-wrought;
He will work in wondrous power,
Far beyond your highest thought.
“Ask in faith,” ’tis just the asking,
In a faith that dares to stand,
Full of joyful expectation,
With an open, outstretched hand.
“Ask in faith,” for God is waiting
For thy faith-filled, earnest prayer.
Faith delights Him; faith can touch Him,
Every moment, everywhere.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.