A centurion was a Roman soldier in charge of a hundred men. This one was a friend to the Jewish people (see verses 3-5). When Jesus went with the elders to go to heal the centurion’s servant, he sent people to meet Jesus along the way, and told him not to trouble Himself. Verses 6-8 show his faith in Jesus was strong enough to believe that his servant would be healed simply by Jesus saying so. Jesus’s statement in verse 9 “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith” foreshadows the welcoming of Gentiles into the kingdom.
His compassion for the widow whose son had died (his death would also mean economic hardship for her) causes him to bring her son back to life in front of a great crowd of people, including those carrying the body. Imagine the fear among them as he sat up and spoke! His fame grew even more as verse 17 says “this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.” As word spread back to John the Baptist, he sent two disciples to go and ask Jesus point-blank if He really was the Messiah. Apparently, even John was expecting a very different savior than this. After they witnessed Jesus healing numerous people (verse 21), he sent them back to him quoting from Isaiah 35:5-6 and 61:1.
The woman whose sins He forgives in verses 36-50 is not Mary who anoints His feet before the crucifixion in John 12:3-8. The Pharisee (who we learn in verse 40 is named Simon) had invited Jesus into his home to eat, and did not know that Jesus knew what he was thinking. He was convinced that Jesus could not be a” prophet,” or else He would not be letting a known sinful woman like this touch Him. Jesus answers with a short parable and a question, and forgives the woman of her sins, prompting those at table to say in verse 49 “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.