Lesson: Faith of the Centurion

Luke 7:1-10
Also read: Matthew 8:5-13 -- allow the kids to point out the differences between the two passages

Differences between the two

1)      Who went to Jesus?  Luke: centurion first sent elders to ask Jesus, and then sent his friends.  Matthew: centurion came himself

2)      Other small differences are just a matter of wording

Is this an inconsistency in the Bible?  Who actually came to see Jesus, the centurion or some friends he sent?

In one other instance where the patient is not at the location, Jesus just said that the person is healed, and the father believed him.  The kid was healed right at that time.  So why did Jesus, who clearly could heal the servant remotely, said he will go heal the servant and began going there?  Remember Jesus never did anything out of the ordinary if he didn't want to make a point out of it.

Centurion believed that Jesus can heal his servant without being there, for he felt unworthy for Jesus to come.  He said to Jesus that he is a man of authority and his word can be done by someone when he speaks, and Jesus can do the same with diseases and heal someone remotely.  In fact, he is commenting Jesus, saying that he has even more power.

Jesus was said to be astonished (why?  Didn't he know?), and said that he had not seen such great faith in all of Israel.  Had he automatically healed the servant directly, this great story may never be recorded in the gospels.

So who actually went to see Jesus?  I believe it's centurion's friends.  Centurion's statements suggest that the soldiers who he sent to do work basically represent him, and thus centurion's friends who came to Jesus under the centurion's word basically represent the centurion as if he is there himself.  So he said that Jesus is even more powerful and all that's needed for healing to take place is for Jesus to give the word.  Jesus' words are as good as Jesus actually being there.

So Jesus said, "It will be done as you believed it would."  Jesus' words healed the servant because of the centurion's faith in the power of Jesus' words.

This lesson was developed by George Huang. Got a question or want to publish this lesson?  E-mail me.

Last updated: 11/1/2003