When Jesus heard it, he marvelled
Which must be understood of him as man; for as God, nothing could present itself unto him at unawares, unthought of, and not known before; and so could not raise admiration in him, and which cannot properly fall on a divine person: or he behaved, both by words and gesture, as persons do when they are astonished at anything; and this he might do, to raise the attention and wonder of those that were with him:
and said to them that followed.
This agrees perfectly with the account that Luke gives, that Christ was set out, with the messengers the centurion sent unto him, in order to come to his house, and heal his servant, and these that followed him were his disciples, and so some copies read, and others that were following him thither to see the miracle.
Verily, I say unto you;
a strong asseveration, and which Christ used, when he was about to deliver anything of considerable importance, and required attention:
I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel:
that is, among the people of Israel: so the Arabic version reads it, "in any of Israel"; and the Persic, "among the children of Israel"; and is to be understood, not of the patriarchs and prophets, and other eminent believers, which were in Israel formerly; but of the men of the then present generation, his mother and his apostles being excepted: though it may be questioned, whether the apostles themselves as yet, had expressed such a strong faith in him, as this man: or it may have a particular respect to them in Israel, who had applied to him for healing, and had been healed by him; that he had not met with and observed any such expression of faith, in his divine power from them, as this centurion had delivered. And it was the more remarkable, that it came from a Gentile, and from a soldier too: but as great as it was, he did not exceed it; he did not ascribe more to Christ than was proper, and which, by the way, is a clear proof of our Lord's divinity: for had he not been truly God, he would have rebuked, and not have commended this man's faith in him: who ascribed that power to him, which is peculiar to God: he is so far from finding fault with him, for thinking or speaking so highly of him, that he praises him for it, and prefers his faith in him, to any instance of it he had met with among the Israelites; who yet had far greater advantages of knowing him, and believing in him. There is a phrase in the Talmud F13 somewhat like this, only used of a person of a different character; where a certain Jew, observing another called by some of his neighbours Rabbi, thus expressed himself;
``If this be a Rabbi, (larvyb wtwmk wbry la) , "let there not be many such as he in Israel".''And it is said F14 of Nadab and Abihu,
``that two such were not found (larvyb whyytwwk) , "as they in Israel".''
F13 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 20. 2. Derech Eretz. fol. 18. 1
F14 Zohar in Lev. fol. 24. 1. & 25. 4.