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centurion sent friends to Him, saying unto Him, Lord, trouble not Thyself; for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers ; and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh ; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, He marvelled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
The servants, of whom we read in the New Testament, were really slaves. Commonly the Romans cared very little for their slaves, but this Roman centurion was kind and good. He loved the poor slave who had served him, and earnestly desired that he should be healed. He was humble too; and being but a Gentile, he did not dare to go himself and bey the Lord Jesus to heal his servant. So he got the Jewish elders to go and beseech for him. They went and pleaded with our Lord, and He set out with them to go to the centurion's house.
Meanwhile, it seemed to the centurion that he had been too bold. As he had felt unworthy to come into the presence of Christ, so now he felt unworthy of the honour of receiving Him in his house; and he sent again to beseech our Lord not to come, but to say one word and heal his servant. His own experience helped hiin to understand how Christ could work such a miracle without being on the spot. The Centurion was an officer under the Roman general, but in command of soldiers; and if he, a man under authority, could order one man here and another man there and be obeyed, much more could the Lord Jesus perform His will by the host of ministering spirits that fulfil His commandments and hearken unto the voice of His word.
Such faith in a Gentile soldier was wonderful indeed. We are told that our Lord marvelled at it, and said that not in Israel had He found so great faith. And He rewarded it. The servant was healed in the same hour.
XII.-THE DEMONIAC IN THE SYNAGOGUE
It was the custom of our Lord on the Sabbath day to teach the people in the synagogue or Jewish houses of prayer. 1 One day when He was teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum, the people were astonished at His doctrine, for His , word was with power; and it pleased Him to confirm that word with a sign following. That sign was the casting out of an unclean spirit. We read of it in St. Luke, iv. 33–36, and also in St. Mark, i. 23-27.
And in the synagogue there was a man which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out. with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth ?
i St. Luke, iv. 16.
art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this ! for with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
This demoniac was not so wild and fierce as those who lived among the tombs at Gadara. He was allowed to come to the synagogue with his fellow-citizens of Capernaum. But the evil spirit within him could not bear the pure and holy presence of Jesus, and began crying out and begging to be let alone. Satan had tempted Jesus Christ in the wilderness, and had failed; by which evil spirits had learnt that He was the Holy One of God. But the Lord would not have such wicked creatures bear witness to Him. He stopped the man's mouth, and commanded the spirit to come out of him. When Michael the Archangel contended with the devil, he said, “The Lord rebuke thee;'but Jesus Christ rebuked the evil spirit Himself, in His own name, and by His own authority. Nor did the spirit dare disobey Him. He uttered a terrible cry, and threw the man down, but he came out of him without hurting him. Thus does Christ refrain the fierceness of devils as well as of bad men, and it only turns to His praise. All who heard of it were amazed, and the fame of Him went forth round about.
St. le, 9.
XIII.-THE HEALING OF SIMON'S WIFE'S
MOTHER AND MANY OTHERS.
WHEN Jesus Christ had cast out the evil spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum, He went into the house of Simon and Andrew the sons of Zebedee. They lived at Bethsaida, a village close to Capernaum. The miracles which He worked there are told in St. Matthew, viii. 14-17, and also in St. Mark, i. 29–34, and St. Luke, iv. 38–41.
And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose and ministered unto them. When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick : That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,
He who had rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm ; He who had just rebuked the unclean spirit, now (as St. Luke tells us) rebuked the fever, and drove it from this poor
He touched her hand, and health and strength flowed into her wasted body. There was no weakness after the fever which Christ healed. The woman was able to rise at once, and minister to Him and His disciples, shewing us that when our souls are healed from sin, and we are restored to spiritual strength, we should use it in ministering to Christ and His people.
St. John, i. 44.
This marvellous cure was talked of all around Bethsaida; and as soon as the sun was set and the Sabbath over, many sick and possessed persons were brought to Jesus. How He healed the sick we do not know; but He cast out the evil spirits with His word, as He always did. It was His custom to lay His Hand upon the sick, the lepers, the blind; but we are never told that He laid His Hand on one possessed with a devil.
By our Lord's miracles of healing He fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy.? That prophecy was fully accomplished when He bare our sins in His own body on the tree. It was also fulfilled when He underwent fatigue and weariness to take away from His suffering creatures diseases which are both the type and penalty of sin.
XIV.—THE RAISING OF THE WIDOW'S
Nain was a city, or as we should call it a village, which lay on the slope of Mount Hermon at the south of Galilee. Our Lord passed through the place, most likely, on His way to Jerusalem to keep the Passover; and on entering into it He worked a miracle. St. Luke relates it in chapter vii. 11-16; and it is read as the Gospel for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.
And it came to pass the day after, that He went into a city call Nain ; and many of His disciples went with Him, and much people. Now when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, Isaiah, liii. 4.
2 1 St. Peter, ii. 24.