A Centurion’s Servant Healed


Matthew 8:5-13 - And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 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. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13 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.


Luke 7:1-10 - Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. 3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:

5  For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. 6 Then Jesus went with them. 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: 7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. 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. 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.


I.    Introduction.

A.     There is some difficulties with the proper chronological order of the miracles. 

1.       I don’t know if there is any way to correctly determine what the proper chronological order is. 

2.       There are hundreds of Harmonies of the Gospels, few of them agreeing. 

3.       I sometimes think that if God had wanted the gospels put in chronological order, he would have done that when he wrote the Bible. 

4.       But sometimes I also think there is something we are missing when we study the gospels – that something that caused God to give us the four gospels the way he gave them to us. 

B.     It would be best to read both scriptures to get the entire picture. 

1.       Which is the true account?  Matthew or Luke? 

2.       Both are true and accurate. 

3.       The difference is in the perspective of Matthew and Luke. 

a.       Matthew reflects the kingdom of God and Christ as king. 

1.)    Therefore the story is presented without saying anything about the servants, who gave the messages back and forth between Christ and the Centurion. 

2.)    The story is presented in the first person, as if the centurion was present. 

b.       Luke reflects the servant-hood of Christ. 

1.)    Therefore the story is presenting showing the centurion is a servant, even though he is over approximately 100 soldiers. 

2.)    Christ is also a servant, although he is over the affairs of the entire world. 

C.     I am going to use the passage in Luke, so we can better understand the exact details of this miraculous healing.


II.    The circumstances surrounding the miracle.

A.     The centurion had a servant. 

1.       This person is not a soldier, but a servant. 

2.       The Bible doesn’t state whether the servant is a male or female, nor is the person’s name given. 

3.       This servant was very dear to the centurion. 

a.       The centurion did not abuse his servants, but realized they were humans with various personalities. 

b.       The centurion realized his position and their position, and that those different positions did not make one above the other. 

c.       This is a trait that should be recognized and desired today. 

B.     The centurion sent some of the elders of the Jews to Christ. 

1.       The centurion send the elders when he heard of Christ. 

a.       It is impossible to do that which we have not heard of, or know about. 

b.       Therefore it is necessary for each of us to take the gospel message of God’s eternal salvation and grace to all this world. 

c.       What people do with the message is their responsibility, but it is our responsibility to take the message to them. 

2.       Why didn’t the centurion come himself, as the nobleman in John 4:46-54? 

a.       The nobleman understood authority, and did not require that Jesus personally come to heal his son. 

1.)    The centurion understood more about authority than the nobleman. 

2.)    John 4:49 records that the nobleman first asked Christ to come and heal his son, but when Jesus told him to go his way, his son was healed, the nobleman believed, went his way and found, the next day, his son was healed. 

b.       The centurion understood authority. 

1.)    He knew if he told somebody to do a certain thing, it would be done. 

2.)    He knew it was the same thing as him going, if his representative went. 

a.)    When Jesus Christ came into the world, it is the same thing as God himself coming into the world. 

b.)    I Peter 3:19-20 – When we declare the word of God, it is the same thing as Christ himself preaching. 

3.       Reading between the lines, it seems the Jews might have volunteered to go to Christ. 

a.       Luke 7:4,5 – It is my opinion the centurion would not have told the Jews to tell Christ: 

1.)    That he was worthy. 

2.)    That he loved the Jewish nation. 

3.)    That had built the Jews a synagogue. 

b.       The word “instantly” in verse 4 instructs us concerning the enthusiasm of the elders of the Jews to present the centurion in the best possible light. 

C.     Jesus went with the elders to the Jews, although his presence is not necessary to heal the servant. 

1.       There is no indication that the elders of the Jews, or the centurion, required the presence of Christ to heal the servant. 

2.       Jesus knew the end of what he was doing, and would use this incident to teach a valuable lesson to the Jews of that day, and this day. 

3.       When Christ was come near the house, the centurion sent friends to stop Christ from coming. 

a.       Evidently, as Christ drew near to the house, the elders of the Jews sent messengers to the house to inform the centurion Christ was almost there. 

b.       It is at this point that the centurion send some friends to Christ. 

c.       It is interesting to see all the people that surround the centurion. 

1.)    The elders of the Jews love this man because of all the good things he has done for the nation of Israel. 

2.)    There is no doubt the personality of the centurion is one of compassion, and listening to the information given to him, and doing the best he can do under any circumstance. 

3.)    The centurion also has friends surrounding him, who readily take the message to Christ. 

d.       It is not that the centurion doesn’t desire the presence of Christ, but his understanding of correct authority is the point. 

1.)    The centurion feels unworthy for Christ to enter his house, but not unworthy for Christ to have compassion on his sick servant and heal him. 

2.)    The centurion understands the necessities and restrictions of time and duties, and the proper use of helpers (delegation of authority) to get the necessary work done. 

D.     Luke 7:8,9 – It is amazing that authority (verse 8) and faith (verse 9) are linked together. 

1.       Many desire more faith, but do not understand that faith and authority are indelibly linked together. 

a.       A good managerial principal is “responsibility and authority” must be equal. 

b.       Anytime responsibility and authority is equal, there will be good harmony, but when they are not equal, there will be disharmony. 

2.       Many today desire greater harmony in their churches, families, and the community, but continually destroy that harmony by disregarding the proper God given authority in the church, the family, and the community. 

a.       Many people desire to grow in the Lord, but continually destroy their own growth because they believe everything must go through them, and they do not regard the authority God has rightly placed over them. 

1.)    There are many church disagreements today because pastors disregard the authority of the church they pastor. 

2.)    There are many church disagreements today because churches disregard the authority God has placed over them in their pastor. 

b.       When we place ourselves under the authority God has placed over us, God will take care of both us and the authority over us. 

1.)    Church members must put themselves under the authority of their God given pastor, and let God take care of him. 

2.)    Pastors must put themselves under the authority of their God ordained church, and let God take care of them. 

a.)    We must have faith in God to believe this is so. 

b.)    Having faith in God, we must act on that faith, then stand back and watch for the result from God. 

3.       Hebrews 11:1 – Faith is believing what God said. 

a.       The centurion believed Christ could heal “long-distance” or “short-distance”. 

b.       The centurion believed the word of Christ healed, not his presence. 

4.       The centurion understood how his word of authority worked, therefore he understood how the word of God’s authority worked. 

a.       The personal experience of the centurion revealed to him that the work he desired got done when he gave the command for it to be done. 

b.       He understood that if Christ would only give his word, it was the same as Christ himself being present and doing the work. 

5.       Luke 7:10 – the servant was healed exactly as Christ commanded. 

a.       The nobleman returned home to find his son healed exactly as Christ commanded. 

1.)    If we would only believe what God said, we could have confidence that he would do exactly as he commanded. 

2.)    People and circumstances directly opposed to Christ have no choice but to obey him. 

b.       In Mark 4:39, Christ exercised his authority over the boisterous waves. 

1.)    Christ had authority over the waves, even though the disciples did not know it. 

2.)    If they had known about Christ’s authority, they could have had faith and not fear. 

3.)    If we know about the authority of Christ over this world, we can have faith and not fear.  [1]


III.    Matthew 8:10-12 – The lesson concerning “outer darkness. 

A.     Considering the context of every scripture will allow us to make proper Biblical interpretations and refrain from error.   

1.       I was told Hebrews 12:22-24 (But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.) refers to the universal church because verse 22 states, But ye are come… and is in present tense, as if all the things mentioned are assembled now. 

2.       Objections: 

a.       We are looking at everything through the eyes of time, but the things of Hebrews 12:22-24 are eternal. 

b.       Context is disregarded for this verse to refer to the universal church. 

c.       Compare verse 18 to verse 22: 

1.)    Verse 18 states, For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness…

2.)    Verse 22 states, But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God…

d.       The whole of Hebrews gives instructions as to who Christ is and what he has done. 

1.)    The subject of Hebrews is not the local church, or the universal church. 

2.)    The subject of Hebrews 12 is chastisement, while verse 12 speaks of encouraging ourselves during discouragement and chastisement. 

3.       Hebrews 12:18 and 22 is teaching that we do not come to the law of God, but to God himself. 

a.       The law of God is described as a mount that cannot be touched, and is burned with fire, covered with blackness, darkness, and tempest, which the people could not endure, as is stated in verse 20 and 21. 

b.       Instead of coming to that terrible law, we come to the eternal merciful all compassionate Christ and the finality of his eternal power. 

B.     False ideas about outer darkness. 

1.       Some believe outer darkness is hell. 

a.       I have many Christian friends who believe this, but I do not think outer darkness is hell. 

b.       There are many similarities, but they are not the same thing. 

c.       I continue to fellowship with brothers in Christ who believe outer darkness is hell, as long as they (and me) are not contentious. 

d.       One of these days, all these things will be made clear. 

2.       Some believe outer darkness is purgatory. 

a.       Purgatory is a false doctrine that people are cleansed by fire after they die. 

1.)    There is no scriptural basis for any sort of cleansing after death. 

2.)    Outer darkness does not cleanse anybody of sin, for only the blood of Christ can do that. 

b.       Purgatory is supposed to be a place, while outer darkness is more a state of mind and depression of spirit.

1.)    Outer darkness is something like what King Saul experienced when the evil spirit of the Lord came upon him. 

2.)    The Bible does not state that King Saul was lost, or that the evil spirit from the Lord cleansed him of his rebellion. 

3.)    King Saul continued to rule Israel for another 38 years, all that time without the leadership of the Lord. 

3.        I am amazed at the number of saved people who reject any thought that they will have any regrets or sorrows after they die. 

a.       We have all been taught that there are no tears in heaven, but the Bible very clearly states that tears are wiped away at the beginning of eternity, not at death, or at the judgment. 

1.)    God taught Israel that he would both bless them, or curse them, according to their actions toward him. 

2.)    Just as Israel faced the consequences of their unbelief, so we will face the consequences of our unbelief. 

b.       All of us will suffer the consequences of our actions, some of the consequences will be suffered in this life, and some in the life to come. 

1.)    Almost everybody will agree that there is physical consequences of sin that will be suffered in this life. 

2.)    Almost everybody will also agree there are eternal consequences of sin that will be suffered. 

3.)    We will all receive the rewards of our actions at whatever judgment we appear – the judgment seat, or the great white throne. 

C.     The word “outer darkness” appear only three times in the entire Bible. 

1.       The verses containing the words “outer darkness” compare faithful believers to unfaithful believers. 

2.       All three passages containing the words “outer darkness” have to do with the kingdom of God; not salvation, which is contained within the kingdom of God. 

D.     Scriptures containing the words “outer darkness”. 

1.       Matthew 8:12 declares, But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

a.       Matthew 8:12 compares a faithful, believing Gentile, to an unfaithful, unbelieving Jewish nation. 

b.       Matthew 8:11 reveals that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are in the kingdom, along with many Gentiles from all parts of the world. 

1.)    All of these people are part of the kingdom, but some of them are a part of Israel, and some of them are part of the church. 

2.)    The verb tense in verse 11 is future, revealing that …many shall come from the east and west…

c.       Matthew 8:12 reveals it is the children of the kingdom that are cast into outer darkness. 

1.)    It is very possible there are some Jews who are lost and will go into eternal hell. 

2.)    It is also very possible that some Jews are not faithful to God, therefore are cast into outer darkness. 

3.)    The passage before us declares the children of the kingdom will not enter into the kingdom. 

a.)    It is important to note the various phrases of the kingdom of God. 

1)      There is a spiritual reign of Christ in the heart of every believer. 

2)      There is a spiritual reign of Christ in the life of every believer. 

3)      There is a present earthly physical reign of Christ, as reflected in the local churches that submit themselves to God’s authority over them. 

4)      There is a future earthly physical reign of Christ on this earth, during the millennium. 

b.)    According to John 3:3, the new birth is essential to see the kingdom. 

c.)    Children (those born into the kingdom), are cast into outer darkness.  

d.       In Matthew 8:12, the Jewish nation held the oracles of God, therefore was the physical representative of the kingdom of God on the earth. 

e.       Compare the believing centurion (a Gentile) to the unbelieving Jews, who must see miracles, yet will not believe.  

2.       Matthew 22:13 notes, Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

a.       Matthew 22:13 is about uninvited wedding guests, not salvation or eternal judgment. 

b.       This parable is the third parable, in this series, that Christ gives to the Pharisees.

1.)    These parables reveal the intention of Christ to remove the oracles of God from the nation of Israel.

2.)    Israel has continually disregarded God’s holy laws by replacing those laws with their own laws. 

c.       Notice Matthew 22:1 – the word “again” and the word “parables”. 

1.)    Matthew 21:12 – Jesus overthrew the moneychangers, declaring the temple should be a house of prayer, not a den of thieves.

2.)    Matthew 21:18-22 – Jesus gave the parable of the barren fig tree. 

3.)    Matthew 21:23-27 – Jesus answered a question regarding his authority. 

d.       The three parables. 

1.)    (First Parable) – Matthew 21:28-32 – The parable of the two sons. 

2.)    (Second Parable) – Matthew 21:33-46 – The parable of the wicked bondman. 

3.)    (Third Parable) – Matthew 22:1-14 – The parable of the marriage of the king’s son. 

e.       Jesus uses the term “outer darkness” instead of “hell”

1.)    If Jesus had intended the Jews to believe they were lost and would go into hell, he would have said so, as he did in Luke 18:9-14: the parable of the publican and the sinner.

2.)    Jesus intended the Jews to understand their replacing God’s laws with their own laws, is what caused them to be in a frame of mind of not understanding the laws of God. 

3.)    Nobody ever gets out of hell, but Israel will return to the Lord during and after the Great Tribulation. 

3.       Matthew 25:30 states, And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

a.       Matthew 25:30 is a continuing lesson that begins in Matthew 24:45-51, continues to the parable of the ten virgins, and continues to the parable of the talents. 

b.       Notice it is a servant that is cast into outer darkness. 

1.)    He is an unprofitable servant, but he is still a servant. 

2.)    Our children are still out children, even if they are shameful children. 

3.)    These servants are God’s children, not servants or children of Satan. 

c.       The three parables/lessons from Matthew 24:45-25:30. 

1.)    Matthew 24:45-51 – Comparing the faithful and wise servant to the wicked servant. 

2.)    Matthew 25:1-13 – The parable of the ten virgins, with emphasis upon the five virgins that have no oil. 

3.)    Matthew 25:30 – In the parable of the talents, the emphasis is upon the servant who hid God’s talent in the earth. 

d.       It is important to see the location of the parable of the talents. 

1.)    It is located after Matthew chapter 24, where Christ answers questions from His disciples about the end of the world.

2.)    Matthew 25:1 starts with the word “then”, as the thought is continued from the teaching about the unfaithful servants at the end of Matthew 24. 

3.)    Matthew 25:14 starts with the word “for”, and continues the thought from chapter 24 through the parable of the ten virgins to the parable of the talents. 

e.       In these three parables, Jesus is once again teaching the unbelieving nation of Israel that he will remove the oracle of God from them. 

f.        There will be much weeping, groaning and gnashing of teeth when the Jews realize they missed the Messiah, crucifying him instead of crowning him. 

E.      Obadiah 1:17-21 is what is described in Matthew 8:12, 22:13 and 25:30. 

1.       Obadiah speaks about the coming destruction of Edom because of eight things they did against Israel as described in Obadiah 1:12-14. 

2.       It must be remembered that the family of Jacob was chosen over the family of Esau, but Esau was given an inheritance as described in Obadiah 1:3, which inheritance they trusted in instead of trusting God. 

3.       Obadiah 1:18 speaks of Israel destroying the stubble of Edom. 

a.       Stubble is what is left after the grain is removed. 

b.       Obadiah 1:19-21 – After God has received all glory and honor from Edom and their wickedness, he will allow Israel to overcome them and dwell in their lands. 

c.       Psalms 76:10 certainly applies here: Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. 

F.      It is very possible Gentiles will also be in the condition of outer darkness because they did not fully believe. 

1.       I Corinthians 3:12-15 reveals the work of every man (not just preachers, missionaries, pastors, so forth) will be judged, and all the wood, hay, and stubble will be burned up. 

2.       Revelation 21:4 relates that God will wipe all tears away when eternity begins, not when a person dies. 

3.       If we believe that God will judge every man alike (both Jews and Gentiles), we must also believe that all wood, hay and stubble will be burned up and that Gentiles who have not been faithful to God will be judged equally with the Jews. 

G.     Some believe the teachings of outer darkness will cause us to serve God because of fear. 

1.       Some believe we serve God because of rewards, but that is also not true. 

2.       Those who serve God to get a reward will receive a reward, but that reward is based on their works, not on the mercy of God. 

3.       We don’t serve God because of fear, because perfect love casteth out fear. 

4.       We serve God because we love him because of all the wonderful things he has done for us.  [2]

[1] Preached to here 06/24/2007 IBC Sunday Morning

[2] Preached to here 06/01/2007 IBC Sunday Morning