Mat_8:1. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
There was a charm about his preaching, not that he modified his doctrine, or that he cut down his precepts; he spoke very plainly, very searchingly, and yet the people came to hear him. There is a something in the conscience of man that makes him turn away from that which flatters him, and makes him hear, almost against his liking, that which searches him.
Mat_8:2. And, behold,
Never mind about the crowd; fix your eye on the one man; behold, etc. —here is a mark of attention.
Mat_8:2. There came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
He could not live in the city, but he might be found on the mount, in the outskirts of the crowd, where he would hear that gracious voice; and he came and “worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” in which I detect no unbelief, but rather a very strong faith. “If thou dost but will, I can be made clean.” And Jesus, seeing the man was willing to dispense with any outward form used one.
Mat_8:3. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him,
Not making himself unclean, as any other man would have done, but making him clean whom he touched.
Mat_8:3. Saying, I will;
A word of encouragement.
Mat_8:3. Be thou clean.
A word of power.
Mat_8:3. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Christ’s grace, which usually wrought at once, in an instant, wrought for ever — the man was cleansed, never to be sick again; cured perfectly; the leprosy was cleansed.
Mat_8:4. And Jesus said unto him, See thou tell no man;
Do not spread the news, the crowd is inconvenient already. It was not only Christ’s modesty, but Christ’s wisdom to keep down the throng a little, for they were too many which gathered about him.
Mat_8:4. But go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
While the ceremonial law stood, Christ was very careful to pay it honour. He came not to destroy, but he came to build up and to fulfill. He would have this man go and get a certificate from the priest that he was cleansed. Perhaps if he did not go at once, when it was found out that Christ healed him, the certificate might have been denied, and the man might not have been able to mingle with the company, so he sent him away quickly, to go to the priest with his offering to get the assurance that he was really cleansed. When Christ’s work is certified by Christ’s voice, then is it sure indeed.
Mat_8:5. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum,
Which I may call his headquarters, he seems to have taken up his abode here for a time, to have gone to and fro to Capernaum.
Mat_8:5. There came unto him a centurion,
An officer over a hundred men, of some importance in those days; a small band of the Roman army placed in Herod’s territory, perhaps to keep watch.
Mat_8:5-6. Beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
Sir Risdon Bennett tells us that there is a species of palsy which is accompanied with great pain, and we know, even from the apocrypha, there is a case there of a man grievously tormented with palsy — not exactly the same thing, perhaps, that we call palsy nowadays.
Mat_8:7. And Jesus said unto him, I will come and heal him.
He did not say, “I will come and see him”; that would have been kind — he did not say what you and I would say, “I will come and pray with him”; that is all we can do — but “I will come and heal him.” Here is the tenderness of man and the power of God.
Mat_8:8-9. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority,
Here was a great point — here was a man commissioned, a man authorized, girt with authority; and he looked upon Christ in the same manner, sent of God, under divine authority, girt about with a heavenly commission.
Mat_8:9. 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.
He did not further explain. It is a pity sometimes when we explain things to God in prayer, as I am afraid we often do, God knows what we mean. And so here he did not explain his meaning; we can see it clearly enough. “Thou too, O Christ, art under the authority of God, and sent by him, and thou hast the powers of nature under thy control. Thou hast but to say the word, and they go; do this, and they do it.”
Mat_8:10. When Jesus heard it, he marveled,
He had marveled at men’s unbelief; now he marvels at their faith, so that the thing which touches the wonder of God is man’s unbelief and man’s faith.
Mat_8:10. And said to them that followed, Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel,
This man is not an Israelite; he is a Roman soldier; but I have never found so much faith in those to the manner born as I find in this stranger.
Mat_8:11. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west,
From differing lands and extreme distances.
Mat_8:11. And shall sit down
Or recline in ease and rest.
Mat_8:11-12. With Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom,
Those born in Israel, who belong to the promised seed.
Mat_8:12-13. Shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the self same hour.
It is greatly important not only that we believe, but that we believe as much as ever we can, that we believe all that Christ has spoken. Some people, when they are converted, believe that they may fall from grace, and they do; according to their faith, so is it unto them. If they could believe for eternal life and lay hold on everlasting life, they would find it so, for generally it is according to their faith that it is unto them.