For Bible Study Nerds

When Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, he did more than a miracle. He demonstrated for everyone something that the centurion had already recognized: Authority. More specifically, Jesus demonstrated that he possessed the absolute authority of God incarnate, the authority that only a Creator has over his creation.

Theologian Lawrence Richards explains this concept of God’s absolute authority by saying, “Here we see a reflection of Christ’s deity: Jesus demonstrated on earth that he had God’s own unrestricted freedom of action.” The healing of the centurion’s servant is just one of many proofs that this is true.

First, he demonstrated authority over time and space—what we call omnipresence—by healing the servant from miles away. Jesus, standing in Capernaum, didn’t have to find out where the servant lived and lay. He didn’t have to be physically present with the servant. He didn’t have to send a token of himself (such as his robe or a cloth) to the servant. He didn’t even speak a verbal command of healing. He simply made a promise to the centurion and—bam!—healing happened instantly in time, across miles of geographical space.

Second, Christ demonstrated full, divine authority over the physical being of anyone and everyone. The servant’s body was paralyzed and in great pain. With only a thought, Jesus reversed the biological weaknesses in that randomly selected servant. He literally “made it all better,” restoring the servant to complete health as only a Creator can do.

Third, Jesus demonstrated divine authority over eternity and the ultimate fate of all humanity. Historians tell us that in Jesus’ time, particularly in the “stronghold of observant Judaism” of Capernaum, non-Jews (gentiles) were “generally viewed as enemies to be eliminated.” Jews looked toward a day of Messianic victory culminated by a great feast “with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven”—and in their minds, gentiles would be forcibly excluded from that eternal bliss. Not so, according to Jesus. Not only did Jesus respond to the gentile centurion’s request, he showered God’s favor on gentiles by performing a miracle in the centurion’s household. Then Christ followed up this miracle by stating clearly that multitudes of gentiles from all over the earth would be included in God’s eternal kingdom.

Somebody say Amen!


Works Cited:

[RBD, 114; VGG, 55]



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