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Ministry of Jesus

Faith of the Centurion

Scripture

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

Key Differences

Matthew records a brief sermon by Jesus, essentially stating that the centurion had greater faith than that of the Jews.  The children of Abraham expected to make it into heaven because they were children of Abraham but they would in fact be left out while men of faith such as the centurion would be allowed in.

Luke tells us that the centurion was a friend of the Jewish elders and that they reasons with Jesus that if anyone deserved to have a request granted, it was the centurion.  Jesus frequently did not see eye to eye with the elders, nor could anyone gain favor with Him on account of what they considered righteousness, however Jesus saw the heart of the centurion and recognized that he was indeed a man of faith and did not simply appear righteous the way many of the Jewish elders did.

Additional Commentary

In a few verses we learn a lot about the centurion even though we are never even given his name.  He is held in high regard by even the Jewish people, which is extraordinary considering the fact that they disdained Gentiles. 

The centurion is a compassionate man who genuinely cares for those who are under him.  Most people would not be concerned about the suffering of a servant and would instead look for a replacement or even become angry about the inconvenience that the illness caused.

The centurion even shows thought and care towards Jesus.  It is a show of humility when the man says that he does not deserve to have Jesus enter his house.  However it is also an act of kindness because to enter the house of a Gentile caused a person to be considered spiritually unclean.  The Jews would not enter the home of Pilate at Jesus' trial because they did not want to become unclean and be unable to celebrate the Passover feast.

The centurion's faith is commended.  Usually people of power try to do things with their own ability.  But the centurion who is used to having authority recognized that Jesus' authority is greater.  He knows that Jesus only needs to speak and his servant will be healed because men of authority have their requests carried out.  The centurion doesn't need further proof because he trusts Jesus as a man of His word.

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