Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20121128.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XIII: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Authority, Matthew 8:1-11:1
B. Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Authority Before Gentile Rulers
Lesson: Jesus ACCEPTED the submission of a powerful Roman citizen-soldier and man of wealth and position over his servant, a submission to Christ as a man with divine powers, so Jesus showed Himself to be God come in the flesh, to be heeded as the Messiah Who is over the people and rulers of the world. He then PROVED that He had such authority by healing the centurion's servant from a distance.
- When Jesus healed the leper and told him to go to the priests and offer the gift Moses had commanded in the event of such a healing (Matthew 8:1-4), He did so to demonstrate His authority as the Messiah before Israel's spiritual leaders, the priests, Matthew 8:4.
- However, in next healing the centurion's servant, Matthew focused on Christ's authority as Messiah before Gentile rulers such as the centurion, Matthew 8:5-13, a fact we view for our insight and edification:
- Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Authority Before Gentile Rulers, Matthew 8:5-13.
- One day as Jesus entered the city of Capernaum in Galilee (Matthew 8:5; 4:13-16), He was met by a centurion, a Gentile commander over 100 soldiers, Matt. 8:5; Zon. Pict. Ency. of the Bible , v. One, p. 773.
- Galilee was not then a Roman province, so this centurion was part of Herod Antipas's army, organized along Roman lines so that he likely had been rewarded with prized Roman citizenship upon enlisting, making him endowed with special rights and privileges as a Roman citizen-soldier, Ibid., p. 772-773.
- Such citizenship included the prized right of direct appeal to Caesar himself if charged with a crime, of freedom from imprisonment without a proper trial and of freedom not to be punished unless condemned in a proper trial, Ibid., p. 873; Acts 22:25-29.
- Also, this centurion had a servant, implying he was a man of importance and wealth, Ibid.; Matthew 8:6.
- Nevertheless, when meeting Jesus, this elite Roman citizen-soldier and man of wealth humbly asked Jesus if He would heal his servant who was ill with a form of paralysis, and who suffered greatly, Mtt. 8:6.
- Jesus offered to go to the centurion's home to heal his servant (Matthew 8:7), but the centurion humbly replied as Jesus' subordinate that he did not deserve to have Him come under his roof, Matt. 8:8. Rather, Jesus could merely say the word, and the servant would be healed, for this centurion acknowledged that, as a man both under authority and bearing authority over others, orders "may be carried out by others even at a distance," Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 37; Matthew 8:9.
- This statement revealed the centurion saw Jesus "as a man with divine powers" and authority (Ibid., Zon. Pict. Ency. of the Bible), authority superseding what authority he held as a citizen-soldier of Rome.
- Jesus was "astonished" at this prominent Gentile's faith, and commented that He had not found anyone else in Israel who had such a great faith in His divine authority, Matthew 8:10 NIV. In making this statement, Jesus also condoned the soldier's belief, effectively claiming that He held divine power and was the superior of this Roman citizen-soldier!
- Christ announced that many such Gentiles will gather in Israel from the east and west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as believers in Christ as God Incarnate in His Messianic Kingdom where even many Hebrews as unbelievers would be cast out into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth in remorse and torment, Matthew 8:11-12.
- Following this announcement, Jesus told the centurion to return home, for since he had believed his servant could be healed by Jesus from a distance by His word, it would be done unto him, Matthew 8:13.
- Matthew 8:13 KJV reports the centurion's servant "was healed in the selfsame hour," and in this setting, it carried the idiomatic meaning of "at that very time, instantly," U. B. S. Greek N. T. , 1966, p. 27; Arndt & Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 1967, p. 904-905.
Application: May we believe that Jesus is God Incarnate, that He as Messiah has authority over the rulers of the entire world! May we thus also heed Him as God and Ruler of God's coming Kingdom!