|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:5-13 This centurion was a heathen, a Roman soldier. Though he was a soldier, yet he was a godly man. No man's calling or place will be an excuse for unbelief and sin. See how he states his servant's case. We should concern ourselves for the souls of our children and servants, who are spiritually sick, who feel not spiritual evils, who know not that which is spiritually good; and we should bring them to Christ by faith and prayers. Observe his self-abasement. Humble souls are made more humble by Christ's gracious dealings with them. Observe his great faith. The more diffident we are of ourselves, the stronger will be our confidence in Christ. Herein the centurion owns him to have Divine power, and a full command of all the creatures and powers of nature, as a master over his servants. Such servants we all should be to God; we must go and come, according to the directions of his word and the disposals of his providence. But when the Son of man comes he finds little faith, therefore he finds little fruit. An outward profession may cause us to be called children of the kingdom; but if we rest in that, and have nothing else to show, we shall be cast out. The servant got a cure of his disease, and the master got the approval of his faith. What was said to him, is said to all, Believe, and ye shall receive; only believe. See the power of Christ, and the power of faith. The healing of our souls is at once the effect and evidence of our interest in the blood of Christ.
Verses 5-13. - The healing of the centurion's servant. (Vers. 5-10; parallel passage Luke 7:1-3, 6-10. Vers. 11, 12, equivalent to Luke 13:28, 29.) According to St. Luke, the centurion sent first elders of the Jews to plead for him, and afterwards friends, and expressly said by them that he did not think himself worthy to come to Jesus. Their return in ver. 10 seems to forbid the supposition that he eventually came. This detailed narrative seems more likely than St. Matthew's, which is not only compressed, but, if taken by itself, gives a wrong idea of what appears to have actually taken place. But quod tacit per alium facit per se, and as Trench points out, this is "an exchange of persons, of which all historical narrative and all the language of our common life is full. A comparison of Mark 10:35 with ch. 20:20 will furnish another example of the same." The fact is that St. Matthew (or, perhaps, the original framer of the source that he used, or those through whose hands it passed) seizes on the Gentilic origin of the centurion, without troubling himself to record his previous kind and generous attitude towards the Jews, and the interest that they now show on his behalf. This led to the omission of the second group of messengers also, and, of course, to the modification of the language where necessary, e.g. ver. 13. For the same reason, St. Matthew records vers. 11, 12 in this place. For the contrast between this and the superficially similar miracle recorded in John 4:46, sqq., cf. Trench on that miracle. Verse 5. - And when Jesus (Revised Version, he) was entered into Capernaum. (On Capernaum, see Matthew 4:13.) There came unto him; i.e. by messengers, as we learn from St. Luke (vide supra). A centurion, beseeching him. The centurion probably belonged to the soldiers of Antipas, in whose district Capernaum lay. They would naturally be organized after the Roman manner; of the forces of the Indian native states and our own. It should be observed, by the way, that even the imperial troops stationed in Palestine were drawn, not from distant lands, but from the non-Jewish inhabitants of the country, perhaps especially from Samaritans (vide Schurer, I. 2. p. 50).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum,.... Was returned from his journey through Galilee, to the place where he before dwelt, and is called his own city, Matthew 9:1
there came unto him a centurion, a Roman officer, , "a commander of an hundred men", as the Hebrew Gospel by Munster reads it: though the number of men under a "centurion" was more, according to some accounts.
"A band (it is said (g)) made two centuries, each of which consisted of an hundred and twenty eight soldiers; for a doubled century made a band, whose governor was called an ordinary "centurion".''
Such an one was Cornelius, a centurion of a band, Acts 10:1. The other person that was healed was a Jew. The next instance of Christ's power and goodness is the servant of a Gentile; he came to do good both to Jews and Gentiles;
beseeching him, not in person, but by his messengers; see Luke 7:3 and the Jews (h) say, , "that a man's messenger is as himself".
(g) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 6. c. 13. (h) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 34. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Mt 8:5-13. Healing of the Centurion's Servant. ( = Lu 7:1-10).
This incident belongs to a later stage. For the exposition, see on Lu 7:1-10.
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