Title: Acknowledging the Extent, Part 1. Of his servant’s condition.
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Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 aren’t just any summary paragraphs in scripture…Matthew and Luke’s accounts of this event are extensive and extreme.
A summary account would be something like Matthew 4:24 (NKJV)…“Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.
That’s a summarization.
But Matthew 8:5-6 (NKJV) says this…
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
And in Luke 7:1-5 (NKJV) we read Dr. Luke’s account of this event…
Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. 3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, 5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
These two Gospel recordings are not contradicting themselves. It’d be like a manager telling the supervisor to relay a message to his or her direct reports…the representative attaching his bosses name to the message that is being delivered. Or a representative going to another country to deliver a message on behalf of the President.
What I want us to consider today is this…
The Centurion was acknowledging the extent of his servant’s condition.
I’ll be using some definitions throughout this message…each come from the original Greek wording…not from a Webster’s Dictionary or Wikipedia. These aren’t intended to impress anyone, but to bring the extent of these terms and paragraphs to surface. Watch this passage go from being treated as just a daily devotional read – to something spectacular that the Holy Spirit intended for us to come away with.
The first extent that I want us to acknowledge is that…
- This wasn’t just any petition (what we would consider a prayer request).
o 5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
o The Centurion was pleading with Jesus.
§ He was making a STRONG [notice the extent wording…STRONG] request on behalf of his servant.
This wasn’t just a “thank you for the food, Amen!” prayer. It was intense.
Secondly, this wasn’t just any servant.
o 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
o He wasn’t just a doulos (the common word for a servant/slave, which he will use later on in this paragraph), but he chose to use the word Pais…meaning, he was a servant who was committed in TOTAL [notice the extent word…TOTAL] obedience to this Centurion.
o This servant wasn’t just a number or an acquaintance…these two had a close connection / relationship.
§ If this servant ever needed a reference, then he definitely would have chosen this Centurion to be one for him.
Lastly, this wasn’t just a common illness.
o Dr. Luke only mentions that “he was sick and ready to die.” Coming from the mouth of a doctor, that might have been something common for him to come across.
o Matthew on the other hand takes it to another level.
o The Holy Spirit has Matthew include that this Centurion's servant was paralyzed. And dreadfully tormented.
o “Dreadfully” – an EXTREME [notice the extent word…EXTREME] negative point on a scale relating to values, terribly.
§ On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain, how do you feel? He probably would have said an 11.
o “Tormented” – he was experiencing SEVERE [notice the extent word…SEVERE] distress…physical torment. Matthew 4:24 above.
I’ll conclude with this for today:
Petitioning to the Lord…
- John 14:13-14 (NKJV) 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
- John 16:23-24 (NKJV) 23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Was this Centurion a believer?
Unsure, but the wording he chooses to use throughout this passage would indicate that he probably wasn’t – even though it seems as if he did respect those who chose to follow the Lord…he probably even had a part in building the synagogue.
But what we do know is that the Centurion, similarly to the woman with the issue of bleeding that touched the Lord’s garment in Matthew 9:20-22, came to the Lord in faith and hopes that a physical need could be met.
The Centurion asked in His name.
When was the last time you had a close friend in need of physical or emotional healing? Maybe he or she wasn’t dreadfully tormented, but there was some level of pain that he or she was experiencing. Are you seriously acknowledging the extent of their condition? Maybe they’re experiencing cancer, the pain of aging, a death in the family, or a divorce…the list could go on.
Have you taken this issue to the Lord on their behalf?
By Faith…ASK for healing in His name!
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, a pastor, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter