Why was Jesus impressed by the Roman Centurion?
The following text is a transcript of the video below:
I wish I really knew the ultimate answer to that. Any time that the Bible says Jesus marveled or Jesus commended someone. In fact, that's a great Bible study to do. I would recommend someone to do, is to go through the Gospels and call out those times that Jesus really commends people. It's not that many. He commends a woman for giving her last bit of money. But in this particular instance, there's a Roman Centurion who has a servant, who is about to die. The Bible says, it's kind of interesting. He sends his Jewish friends, the elders to Jesus, asking Jesus to heal this guy. The elders go to Jesus, they plead on behalf of the Centurion. The Centurion has been favorable for them. He has built them synagogues and those kinds of things. They go back to the Centurion.
As Jesus is getting closer to the Centurion's home, the Centurion doesn't come out to see Jesus. He sends his friends now, to tell Jesus, "I'm unworthy of you to come to my home. All you have to do is speak the word." But then he adds these couple of verses. He says, "For I am like you, I am a man under authority, yet I tell people what to do. I tell them to go and they go, I tell them to come and they come. I know that you can just speak a word and this servant would be healed." That's exactly what happens. The friends go back and when they get back home, I mean, the servant has been healed. Jesus then turns to the crowd, having never talked to the Centurion.
As many times as I read that in Luke, I never knew that they never saw each other face to face. At least it's not recorded that they did that. Jesus tells a crowd that is standing there, "I've never seen this kind of faith, not even in Israel. What's he talking about? What's he marveling about?" Well, it could be that here's a Roman, an outsider who shouldn't have known who Christ is and his authority and his relationship with his heavenly father and Jesus marvels at that, "Here's an outsider." Or maybe he's just marveling the fact that Jesus or the Centurion didn't even feel compelled to see Jesus face to face, that he would send his own voice to do that. I don't know that it's still a question in my mind exactly what Jesus was referring to, but I tend to lean towards his marveling at the fact that this man, who is an outsider to the Jewish nation, would understand even to the degree that Jesus himself was still under the father of authority. He'd exercise authority on his own.
The Faith of the Roman Centurion: Matthew 8:5-13
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.