Miracles of Jesus: Healing the Centurion's Servant

Bible Describes Jesus Christ Healing a Roman Army Officer's Paralyzed Servant

Jesus miracle healing centurion's servant
The Bible records the famous miracle of Jesus Christ using the power of his words to heal a centurion's servant. Culture Club/Contributor/Getty Images

The Bible records the famous miracle of Jesus Christ using the power of his words to heal a centurion's servant in two Gospels: Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. The story, with commentary:

Just Say the Word

When the centurion (an ancient Roman army officer who was captain of 100 soldiers) showed faith in Jesus' ability to heal miraculously through his words, Jesus healed his paralyzed and dying servant without even having to set foot in the centurion's house.

Matthew 8:5-9 begins the story like this: "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."

The centurion was concerned about his servant's suffering, and Luke's report reveals that the servant was a person whom the centurion "valued highly" and who was so sick that he was "about to die" (Luke 7:2). Although Roman centurions were hardened soldiers who often spent their entire careers in the army, this centurion shows compassion.

He also had a good reputation in the town of Capernaum, and Luke's account mentions that some of the local Jewish elders told Jesus about the centurion: 'This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.' (Luke 7:4-5).

It's likely that the centurion was reluctant to have Jesus visit his home because many Jewish religious leaders told Jewish people to avoid visiting the homes of Gentiles (non-Jewish people) even though that prohibition was a man-made regulation, not part of the law that God gave the Jews through Moses.

In his reply to Jesus' question, the centurion demonstrates great faith and respect for Jesus' authority, and explains that his career in the army has taught him about the power of trusting that, when someone gives a command, it will be done. The centurion tells Jesus that he believes in Jesus' power to heal his servant even without having to be physically present with the servant in his home.

Such Great Faith

The story concludes in Matthew 8:10-13: "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."

Jesus tells the crowd of people surrounding him that God's requirement for entering heaven is faith, not a certain type of heritage. He lets them know that heaven will be made up of people from all backgrounds (Jewish and every other type of race) who demonstrate real faith in him.

He also warns the crowd that people who don't have actual faith in him but expect to get into heaven simply on the basis of their heritage will experience a far different destiny, ending up in hell.

When Jesus speaks healing words, the Bible reports that the centurion's servant was "healed at that moment." Jesus was willing to heal the dying man completely -- by speaking that healing into existence -- as soon as the centurion expressed great faith in him.

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Hopler, Whitney. "Miracles of Jesus: Healing the Centurion's Servant." ThoughtCo, Apr. 10, 2016, thoughtco.com/miracles-of-jesus-healing-centurions-servant-124581. Hopler, Whitney. (2016, April 10). Miracles of Jesus: Healing the Centurion's Servant. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/miracles-of-jesus-healing-centurions-servant-124581 Hopler, Whitney. "Miracles of Jesus: Healing the Centurion's Servant." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/miracles-of-jesus-healing-centurions-servant-124581 (accessed November 24, 2017).