DEVOTIONAL – AUG 8
Leslie M. John
“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” (Matthew 8:5-7)
The centurion, who approached Jesus to heal His servant, was a gentile from Roman Army. Because it was against the Mosaic Law for a Jew to mix up with Gentile it would have been an awkward situation for Jesus, who was a Jew, to enter Centurion’s house. However the Lord said He would go to centurion’s house and heal his servant.
God was against the children of Abraham marrying Canaanite women because the latter were idolaters. Such prohibition was present even before Mosaic Law was given. (Cf. Genesis 24:3, Genesis 24:37, Genesis 28:1). Thereafter, God chose Israel as His nation and the people of Israel as His people. The LORD prohibited Idolatry and, therefore, prohibited mixing up with Canaanites and other nations.
However, considering the fact that Moses married a Cushite woman, it is evident that God was not angry with inter-racial marriages. God was against mixing up with Gentiles because they were idolaters and not because they were of different races. God was angry with Solomon because he married women who were idolaters. This obviously shows that even among the children of Israel there were many races. According to Jewish Encyclopedia there was a large population of Ethiopians among Israelites.
Incidentally, centurions were held in very good light in the Scriptures. There are at least five references about Centurions.
1. “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him” (Matthew 8:5)
2. “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54)
3. “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band” (Acts 10:1)
4. “But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands” (Acts 24:7)
5. “And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band” (Acts 27:1)
The Centurion, who approached Jesus, realized the awkward situation that the Lord would face and said to Him that he was not worthy that Jesus should go into his house. He pleaded with Jesus that He may speak the word ordering healing of his servant and trusted that his servant would be healed by the word of Lord Jesus. He knew and trusted in the spiritual authority and power of the word of the Lord. He cited his own authority over his soldiers under him and servant. He said that he could command one to come and another to go and they all, including his servant, will obey his commands.
Lord Jesus Christ would not have been wrong even if He had gone under the roof of centurion’s house because He was the Son of God. At one point he said that He was the Lord of the Sabbath. According toe Mosaic Law Sabbath day violator could be killed by stoning.
“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” Mat 12:8
Jesus marveled at the faith of the centurion and said to them that followed Him that He did not find so great faith even among Israelites. Giving utmost importance to faith that saves a person and healing that he/she would receive Jesus said that many shall come from east and from west and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, whereas, even the children of Israel may lose that privilege because of their faith in Him.
Lord Jesus Christ then commanded the centurion to go his way and said that his servant was healed and, surely, his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
“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”. Matthew 8:13