Great Faith Among the Gentiles #2

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

“When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:10 KJV).

Let us scrutinize the context in order to see some marvelous Bible truths associated with today’s Scripture, especially why Jesus said what He did.

Comparing today’s Scripture and its context (Matthew 8:5-13) with their companion passage (Luke 7:1-10) provides greater details. Note Luke 7:3-5: “And when he [the centurion] heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.”

As soon as the Roman centurion (commander of 100 soldiers) who has a sick and dying servant, hears of Jesus’ entrance into Capernaum, he himself does not approach Jesus. Actually, the centurion knows that he can only access God through Israel, as per the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:3. He knows that Jesus was sent to the nation Israel and not to Gentiles such as him (Romans 15:8). Thus, he sends some Jewish elders to Jesus on his behalf. Note the centurion loved Israel and he even built the Jews a synagogue. He is one of the few Gentiles who are not saturated with paganism—he recognizes Israel’s God is the true God! (Hence Jesus’ response in today’s Scripture.)

Jesus follows the Jewish elders to the centurion’s house, “And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee…” (Luke 7:6,7a). Note the centurion still knows he is too unworthy to speak with Jesus personally: he sent Jewish elders and then friends instead. It is not until Jesus comes even closer to the house that the centurion shows himself.

Before we get to this, however, let us go back a bit….