For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
built, &c.—His love took this practical and appropriate form.See Poole on "Luke 7:1"
having under me soldiers; an hundred, or more:
and I say unto one, go, and he goeth, and to another, come, and he cometh, and to my servant, do this, and he doth it; as this his servant used to do, and whom he may intend, who now lay sick, and therefore was dear unto him. His meaning is, that Christ could as easily command, and call off a distemper, add it would obey him, as he could command obedience from his soldiers and servant, and have it, and more so.For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 7:8. καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ: here follows the great word’ of the centurion reported by Lk. much as in Mt. But it seems a word more suitable to be spoken in propria persona than by deputy. It certainly loses much of its force by being given second hand. Lk. seems here to forget for the moment that the centurion is not supposed to be present. Schanz conjectures that he did come after all, and speak this word himself. On its import vide at Matthew 8:9—τασσόμενος: present, implying a constant state of subordination.
Comparing the two accounts of this incident, it may be noted that Lk.’s makes the action of the centurion consistent throughout, as inspired by diffident humility. In Mt. he has the courage to ask Jesus directly, yet he is too humble to let Jesus come to his house. In Lk. he uses intercessors, who show a geniality welcome to the irenic evangelist. Without suggesting intention, it may further be remarked that this story embodies the main features of the kindred incident of the Syrophenician woman, not reported by Lk. The excessive humility of the centurion = “we Gentile dogs”. The intercession of the elders = that of the disciples. The friendliness of the elders is an admonition to Judaists = this is the attitude you ought to take up towards Gentiles. All the lessons of the “Syrophenician woman” are thus taught, while the one unwelcome feature of Christ’s refusal or unwillingness to help, which might seem to justify the Judaist, is eliminated. How far such considerations had an influence in moulding the tradition followed by Lk. it is impossible to say. Suffice it to point out that the narrative, as it stands, does double duty, and shows us:—
1. Gentile humility and faith.
2. Jewish friendliness.
3. Christ’s prompt succour, and admiration of great faith.8. For I also] This assigns the reason why he made the request. He was but a subordinate himself, “under authority” of his Chiliarch and other officers, and yet he had soldiers under him as well as a servant, who at a word executed his orders. He inferred that Jesus, who had the power of healing at a distance, had at His command thousands of the “Heavenly Army” (Luke 2:13; Matthew 26:53) who would
“at His bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest.”Luke 7:8. Τασσόμενος) The present, with a reference to each particular order [being subject in each particular instance of authority exercised over me].Verse 8. - For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. What the soldier really thought of Jesus is evident when we read between the lines of this saying of his: "If I, who am under many a superior - the chiliarch of my thousand, the tribunes of my legion, my emperor who commands at Rome - yet receive a ready and willing obedience from my soldiers, and have but to say to one, ' Go,' and he goeth, to another, 'Come,' and he cometh; how much more thou, who hast no one above thee, no superior, when thou commandest disease, one of thy ministers, will it not at once obey?" The same thought was in Archdeacon Farrar's mind when he wrote how the centurion inferred that Jesus, who had the power of healing at a distance, had at his command thousands of the "heavenly army" (ch. 2:13; Matthew 26:53), who would
"At his bidding speed
"And post o'er land and ocean without rest."
See on Matthew 8:9.
Set under authority (ὑπὶ ἐξουσίαν τασσόμενος)
It is not easy to render the exact force of these words. The sense of the present participle with the verb εἰμί, I am, is very subtle. The words set under are commonly understood to mean placed in a subordinate position; but this would be more accurately expressed by the perfect participle, τεταγμένος. The present participle indicates something operating daily, and the centurion is describing not his appointed position so much as his daily course of life. The word set originally means arranged, drawn up in order; so that the words might be paraphrased thus: "I am a man whose daily course of life and duty is appointed and arranged by superior authority." The centurion speaks in a figure which is well explained by Alford: "I know how to obey, being myself under authority; and I know how others obey, having soldiers under me. If then I, in my subordinate station of command, am obeyed, how much more thou, who art over all, and whom diseases serve as their Master." Just what estimate of Jesus these words imply we cannot say. It seems evident, at least, that the centurion regarded him as more than man. If that be so, it is a question whether the word man (ἀνθρωπός) may not imply more than is commonly assigned to it. Taking the Greek words in their order they may read, "For I also, a man (as compared with thee), am set under authority, having soldiers under myself. See on Matthew 8:9.
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