5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,6 saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented."7 And Jesus said to him,"I will come and heal him." 8 The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed." 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, "Go, and he goes; and to another, "Come, and he comes; and to my servant, "Do this, and he does it." 10 When Jesus heard it,He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour. (Matthew 8:5-13 New King James Version, NKJV)
The healing of the servant of a centurion is an interesting and unique healing story. In this account, a servant of a centurion had become paralyzed and extremely ill. The centurion sends one of his servants to Jesus, asking him to come to his home and heal his servant. Without hesitating, Jesus says he will go and heal his servant.
This healing is unique for several reasons. The faith of the Roman Centurion, a Gentile, teaches that Jesus' ministry is not confined to Israel. God's healing power may be experienced by all who have faith in Jesus Christ. You don't have to belong to the chosen race to be healed by Jesus. The many healings that Jesus performed, makes it clear that God's kingdom power is accessible to all races and classes of people, who in faith, turn to God for help.
Second, God's healing power is not confined by time or space. Many years ago, the Pat Robinson Christian television ministry was replaying a show that aired the previous week. During that particular telecast, the guest minister had a word of knowledge (one of the spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:8) that someone in the television audience was being healed of a back injury. Several persons called in during that live show, testifying their backs had been healed.
Later, during the rerun of that show, a woman who watched that show, called in to the television station and gave a testimony that as she claimed the healing, her back was instantly healed. The pain left her and she was healed just as the guest on the show had a word of knowledge.
Although this particular television show had been aired a week earlier, this woman did not know that. Through that word of knowledge, God's healing power was still available and miracles were still happening. This proves that God's miracle working power is not limited by time or space. The centurion experienced this fact firsthand concerning the miracle working power of God. We serve an awesome God.
Third, the healing of this paralyzed man reminds us that nothing is impossible to those who have faith in God. The centurion recognizes the authority of Jesus and believes that nothing is impossible for him. As one who has authority, he submits himself and the care of his sick servant under Jesus' authority.
After hearing the bold faith of the centurion, Jesus says that he has not seen this kind of faith in all of Israel. He tells the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." (Matthew 8:13). Faith becomes the means of grace that connects God's healing power to meet the healing need of the servant of the centurion. God always responds to people of faith. When we come to God to meet some need, in faith, we too should submit ourselves to the care and authority of God, knowing that God loves us and desires our highest good.
Fourth, notice that the faith of the centurion is not in himself, but in Jesus' ability to heal his paralyzed servant. His faith was in the person of Christ. The centurion has learned from the stories of the miracle working power of Jesus, that his authority and power does not come from this world, but from a divine source.
When I pray for the healing of others, I always instruct them to look to Christ for their healing, not to me. I remind them that their faith is to be in the person of Jesus Christ. I further remind them that I am God's instrument of healing grace. God is the healer! I am a conduit of God's healing power, that flows through me, on their behalf. God is the cure-giver. I am a care-giver.
Finally, healing is rooted in love. God loves everyone unconditionally. This is why God's healing grace was available to the centurion's servant--a Gentile. Healing should be happening today, because the church represents the real presence of the resurrected Christ, in the world. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ lives through the church.
Just as Jesus healed all who came to him, the church, the body of Christ is to do the same. The world is our parish. We are to go beyond the walls of the church, just as Jesus went beyond the walls of Israel.
This healing moment reminds us of the importance of faith, but more importantly, it reminds us of the enormity and wideness of God's love.