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But speak the word, and my servant shall be healed. He was persuaded that the power which belongeth unto God only, was in the Lord Jesus; and therefore that there was no occasion for Him to go into his house and see or touch the paralytic, in order to effect a cure; but that if He commanded the disease to depart, the cure would be accomplished. Such confidence in the power of Jesus was very remarkable.
The centurion illustrated his full confidence in the Saviour's mighty power by a reference to his own situation and circumstances in life. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. This illustration of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ proved his conviction that all nature must obey Him, as readily as a soldier obeys his commander, or a servant his master. Hence it evidently appears that the centurion regarded our Lord Jesus Christ as more than a mere man; since he was persuaded that He could command diseases to depart from persons who were at a distance, as well as heal those who personally applied to Him. And he found that he was justified in the exalted idea which he had formed of the Lord Jesus, and that the event proved it to be correct.
70 Psalm lxii 11.
His confidence was not checked in the least by our Saviour, but received His high commendation. When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. He marvelled to find that any man, and especially a Roman centurion, should discover such unlimited confidence in His almighty power. He had not found among His own countrymen such faith as this man evinced; never before had any one argued in this manner in proof of a belief that He was able to do as He would among the inhabitants of the earth, and that He had all diseases under His controul.
From this exhibition of faith in a Gentile, Jesus took occasion to foretell the calling of the Gentiles to partake of the Divine favour; and the rejection of the Jews from the privileges which they had so long exclusively enjoyed, as the peculiar people of God. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the East and West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. An allusion is supposed to be made here to those marriage suppers among the Jews, which furnished subjects for some of our Saviour's parables. On these occasions the rooms in which the wedding feast was held, were usually lighted
up in a very brilliant manner; and exhibited a striking contrast to the other parts of the house, or to the streets, which were in a state of darkness. Those who were not admitted into the supper room, or who were put out of it for improper conduct of any kind, are represented according to their various dispositions, either as greatly lamenting their exclusion, or as being exceedingly enraged at it. Such will be the awful alternative hereafter in eternity, with regard to those who are shut out from the enjoyment of the blessedness of heaven, which is compared to a banquet, and called the marriage supper of the Lamb." Unavailing weeping and grievous lamentation, or fierce rage, violent indignation, and horrid fury, will characterise their awful condition in the abodes of darkness and
despair. Unbelief in the Divine power and goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ is here intimated to be the cause of their misery. So John the Baptist solemnly declared, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
After He had foretold the calling of the Gentiles, and the rejection of the Jews from being the people of God, Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it
71 Revelation xix. 9.
72 John iii. 36.
done unto thee. Thus He spake the word, as He had been requested to do; and the man, returning home, found that his faith in the Divine power of the Lord Jesus was not in vain. He was not disappointed of his hope; for his servant was healed in the self same hour.
The two miracles recorded in the Gospel for this day, display the Divine power, and the tender kindness and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ. And His answer to the centurion points out to us the means whereby the children of men partake of His benefits. As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. The benefit resulting from faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is here set before us; faith in His Divine or almighty power; and faith in His infinite compassion and kindness to the children of men. The leper expressed his faith in the power of Christ, when he said, Thou canst make me clean. The centurion, when he said, Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. The Divine power which our Lord Jesus Christ manifested in the days of His flesh, in healing the bodily diseases of those who applied to Him, is recorded, not for the purpose of exciting our admiration of His character, but in order to lead us to make our application to Him for the healing of the diseases of our souls ; which it was the great object of His coming into the world to effect.
The two miracles to which our attention has
been directed, may lead us to notice two varieties in the disease with which the souls of men are infected; and which the Almighty Physician of souls is as able and willing to heal, as He was in the days of His flesh to remove the bodily diseases of the persons whose cases have been considered. For this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.73 His name was called Jesus, because He should save His people from their sins.74
The case of the man afflicted with leprosy may represent that of one who has lived in open sin, and brought upon himself the reproach of his fellow-creatures, as well as the condemnation of his own conscience. His sins stare him in the face. He is sensible that he has done those things which he ought not to have done; and that the cause of it is, that there is no spiritual health in him. He is filled with remorse of conscience, with abhorrence of his sins, with shame and self-abasement on account of his transgressions of the law of God. To such persons the conduct of the leper affords an example of the manner in which it becomes them to act; and the conduct of our blessed Saviour gives them every encouragement to follow that example. Let the self-condemned sinner hum
73 1 Timothy i. 15.
74 Matthew i. 21.