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THERE was at Capernaum an officer of the Roman army, a man who had under him a company of a hundred men. They called him "a centurion," a word which means "having a hundred," but we should call him "a captain." This man was not a Jew, but was what the Jews called "a Gentile," "a foreigner," a name which the Jews gave to all people outside of their own race. All the world, except the Jews themselves, were Gentiles.
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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.
Matthew 8:5-13 ; Luke 7:1-17
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This Roman centurion was a good man, and he loved the Jews, because through them he had heard of God, and had learned how to worship God. Out of his love for the Jews he had built for them, with his own money, a synagogue, which may have been the very synagogue in which Jesus taught on the Sabbath days.
The centurion had a young servant, a boy, whom he loved greatly; and this boy was very sick with a palsy, and near to death. The centurion had heard that Jesus could cure those who were sick; and he asked the chief men of the synagogue, who were called its "elders," to go to Jesus, and ask him to come and cure his young servant.
The elders spoke to Jesus just as he came again to Capernaum, after the Sermon on the Mount. They asked Jesus to go with them to the centurion's house; and they said, "He is a worthy man, and it is fitting that you should help him, for though a Gentile, he loves our people, and he has built for us our synagogue." Then Jesus said, "I will go and heal him."
But while he was on his way, and with him were the elders, and his disciples, and a great crowd of people, who hoped to see the work of healing, the centurion sent some other friends to Jesus with this message, "Lord, do not take the trouble to come to my house; for I am not worthy that one so high as thou art should come under my roof; and I did not think that I was worthy to go and speak to thee. But speak only a word where you are, and my servant shall be made well. For I also am a man under rule, and I have soldiers under me, and I say to one; Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it. You, too, Speak the word, and my have power to speak and to be obeyed, servant will be cured."
When Jesus heard this he wondered at this man's faith. He turned to the people following him, and said, "In truth I say to you, I have not found such faith as this in all Israeli" Then he spoke to the friends of the centurion who had brought word from him, "Go and say to this man, As you have believed in me, so shall it be done to you."
Then those who had been sent went again to the centurion's house, and found that in that very hour his servant had been made perfectly well.
On the day after this, Jesus, with his disciples and many people, went out from Capernaum, and turned southward, and came to a city called Nain. Just as Jesus and his disciples came near to the gate of the city they were met by a company who were carrying out the body of a dead man to be buried. He was a young man, and the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. All the people felt sad for this woman who had lost her only son.
When the Lord Jesus saw the mother in her grief, he pitied her, and said, "Do not weep."
He drew near, and touched the frame on which they were carrying the body, wrapped round and round with long strips of linen. The bearers looked with wonder on this stranger, and set down the frame with its body, and stood still. Standing beside the body, Jesus said, "Young man, I say to you, Rise up!" And in a moment the young man sat up and began to speak. Jesus gave him to his mother, who now saw that her son, who had been dead, was alive again.
A great fear came upon all who had looked upon this wonderful work of Jesus. They praised God, and said, "God has indeed come to his people, and has given us a great prophet!"
And the news that Jesus had raised a dead man to life again went through all the land.
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