Luke 7 meaning

Luke 7 meaning DEFAULT

Bible Commentaries

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Luke

Introduction

D. Jesus’ compassion for people ch. 7

This section of Luke’s Gospel records Jesus revealing Himself further to the people. Luke presented Him as the fulfillment of prophecies about God’s gracious intervention into life (e.g., Isaiah 61:1-2 a; cf. Luke 4:18). Jesus met many needs of people, both physical and spiritual. Luke pictured Jesus showing compassion on a Gentile, a widow, and a sinful woman. The multitudes generally regarded these gracious acts as evidences of a divine visitation. However the Pharisees viewed them with suspicion.

"In his ministry Jesus intervenes on the side of the oppressed and excluded, assuring them that they share in God’s salvation and defending them against others who want to maintain their own superiority at the expense of such people. The groups for whom Jesus intervenes are not sharply defined and delimited. They include a number of partly overlapping groups. In his ministry Jesus helps the poor, sinners, tax collectors, women, Samaritans, and Gentiles. Each of these groups was excluded or subordinated in the society to which Jesus spoke, and the Lukan narrator seems to be especially interested in Jesus’ ministry to these people." [Note: Tannehill, 1:103.]

Verse 1

This verse is transitional. It helps us appreciate the fact that people generally (Gr. laos), not just disciples, were listening to the Sermon on the Mount, at least the last part of it (cf. Matthew 7:28). The Greek word that Luke used to describe the completion of Jesus’ teaching on that occasion is eplerosen, which means "fulfilled." He thus implied that this teaching was a fulfillment of prophecy about the Messiah, perhaps that He would preach good news to the poor (Luke 4:18; Luke 6:20; Isaiah 61:1).

Verses 1-10

1. The healing of a centurion’s servant 7:1-10 (cf. Matthew 8:5-13)

This incident shows Jesus extending grace to a Gentile through Jewish intermediaries. It would have helped Luke’s original Gentile readers appreciate that Jesus’ mission included them as well as the Jews. It is another case in which Jesus commended the faith of someone (cf. Luke 1:45; Luke 5:20). Luke continued to stress Jesus’ authority and the power of His word (cf. Luke 4:32; Luke 4:36). The similarities between this incident and the conversion of Cornelius are striking (cf. Acts 10).

"His story is thus an example of the fact that God is willing to accept all men alike and that everyone who fears him and performs righteousness is acceptable to Him (Acts 10:34 f.)." [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 277.]

The good relations between the Jews and this Gentile also show their compatibility, an important lesson for early Christians since there were Jewish Gentile tensions within the early church. Jesus also noted the unbelief that characterized the Jews generally, another important factor that the early church had to deal with. In his account of this healing, Matthew, writing to Jews, stressed the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s plan, but Luke, writing to Gentiles, emphasized the importance of Gentiles loving Jews. [Note: Edersheim, 1:544.]

Verses 2-3

These verses are unique to Luke’s account. They give detail about the character of the centurion. He had a personal concern for his slave whom he honored and respected (Gr. entimos), which was unusual and commendable. This affectionate regard is also clear in his use of the Greek word pais to describe the servant (Luke 7:7). This word elsewhere sometimes describes a son (John 4:51). The centurion also enjoyed the respect of the Jews in Capernaum so much that he felt free to ask some of the local Jewish leaders to approach Jesus for him (cf. 1 Timothy 3:7). Normally the Jews did not like the Roman soldiers who occupied their towns. The slave was evidently too sick to bring to Jesus. Luke described him as about to die. Matthew described him as paralyzed and in great pain (Matthew 8:6).

Verses 4-5

The village leaders explained to Jesus why they were interceding for the centurion. Their affection for him is obvious and quite untypical, as was a Roman soldier’s affection for the Jews. Any person in this centurion’s position could have enriched himself honestly. [Note: B. S. Easton, The Gospel according to St. Luke, p. 95.] Consequently the fact that he was so generous with the Jewish residents of Capernaum shows his selfless concern for their welfare. Early Jewish Christian readers should have concluded that since Jews thought this Gentile worthy of Jesus’ help they should see no problem with accepting similar people into the church.

Verses 6-8

It seems unusual that the centurion would send for Jesus and then tell Him not to come. Apparently his humility moved him to do so (cf. Luke 3:16). He felt unworthy that Jesus should enter his house. He understood that Jews customarily avoided entering the homes of Gentiles because they considered them ritually unclean. He may also have wished to spare Jesus the embarrassment of entering a Gentile’s house since many Jews would have criticized Jesus for doing so. He even felt unfit (spiritually, morally, religiously) to meet Jesus outside his house.

However the main point of the centurion’s words was his recognition of Jesus’ authority. He viewed Jesus’ relationship to sickness as similar to his own relationship to his subordinates. He saw both men as operating in a chain of command under the authority of others but also in authority over others. Jesus could bid sickness to come, to go, and to behave, as this soldier ordered his slaves. Jesus only needed to issue an authoritative command, as the centurion gave orders, and the sickness would depart. All they had to do was say the word and things happened. This man not only viewed Jesus as having authority over sickness, but he even believed that Jesus’ spoken word would be sufficient to heal.

Verses 9-10

Jesus’ comment did not slander the faith of the Jews. One would expect them to have faith since they had the prophecies about Messiah in Scripture, but the Gentiles did not have that light. The centurion believed that Jesus could heal His servant, not that He would heal him. The only two instances of Jesus "marveling" at people are here, on account of faith, and at Nazareth, because of unbelief (Mark 6:6). The centurion’s belief in Jesus’ authority was unusual, apparently because it rested on reports, and perhaps personal observation, of Jesus’ previous ministry. Jesus rewarded his faith by healing his servant.

"Here was one, who was in the state described in the first clauses of the ’Beatitudes,’ and to whom came the promise of the second clauses; because Christ is the connecting link between the two, and because He consciously was such to the Centurion, and, indeed, the only possible connecting link between them." [Note: Edersheim, 1:549.]

Jesus did not limit His healing ministry to people who believed that He was the divine Son of God. He evidently healed some people who expressed no understanding of His true identity simply because He felt compassion for them and chose to bless them (cf. John 9:11; Acts 10:38). Even the Twelve did not understand that Jesus was both God and man until God revealed that to Peter at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:16). It may therefore be incorrect to conclude that this centurion became a believer in Jesus’ deity here, though He may have. He did believe that Jesus was at least a prophet of God, and probably he believed that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. Jesus rewarded his faith because he responded as he should have to the information about Jesus that he had. That is essentially what Jesus had been teaching his disciples to do in the Sermon on the Mount. That is what Luke wanted his readers to do too. [Note: See Zane C. Hodges, "The Centurion’s Faith in Matthew and Luke," Bibliotheca Sacra 121:484 (October-December 1964):321-32.]

Verse 11

Jesus may have gone directly from Capernaum (Luke 7:1-11) to Nain ("the pleasant"). Nain was only about 20 miles southwest of that town. It lay on the northern slope of the Hill of Moreh that stood at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley. It was 6 miles south and a little east of Nazareth and is easily visible across the valley from Nazareth. The Hill of Moreh is a significant site because on its south side stood Shunem where Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:18-37). Luke distinguished two groups of people who accompanied Jesus, namely, His disciples and a large multitude of presumably non-disciples.

Verses 11-17

2. The raising of a widow’s Song of Solomon 7:11-17

This miracle lifted the popular appreciation of Jesus’ authority to new heights. Luke also continued to stress Jesus’ compassion for people, in this case a widow whose son had died, by including this incident in his Gospel. The importance of faith in Jesus is not strong in this pericope. However the motif of the joy that Jesus brings recurs. The incident also sets the stage for Jesus’ interview by John the Baptist’s disciples that follows (Luke 7:18-23).

Verse 12

Friends were carrying the corpse out of the city gate to bury it outside the town, as was customary. The fact that the widow now had no surviving husband or son meant that she was in desperate circumstances economically as well as emotionally (cf. 1 Kings 17:10). She would probably become destitute without someone to provide for her needs. The large retinue of mourners was common though it suggests that she had friends.

Verse 13

This is Luke’s first narrative use of the term "the Lord" for Jesus (cf. Luke 7:19; Luke 10:1; Luke 10:39; Luke 10:41; Luke 11:39; Luke 12:42; Luke 13:15; Luke 17:5-6; Luke 18:6; Luke 19:8; Luke 22:61; Luke 24:3; Luke 24:34). It anticipates the title the early Christians gave Him (e.g., Acts 2:36), and in this story it anticipates the remarkable demonstration of His sovereignty that followed.

Luke noted Jesus’ compassion for the woman, one of his characteristic emphases. The Lord’s words expressed His compassion, but they proved to be far from merely hollow words of encouragement. He would shortly give her reason not to weep but to rejoice.

Verse 14

The "coffin" (Gr. sorou) was a litter that carried the shrouded corpse. By touching it Jesus expressed His compassion, but His act also rendered Him ritually unclean (Numbers 19:11; Numbers 19:16). Probably His action told the bearers that He wanted to do something. So they stopped. Undoubtedly the residents of Nain knew Jesus, and His reputation was probably another reason they stopped. This was the first time Jesus restored to life someone who had died, according to the Gospel records. Again the simple but powerful word of "the Lord" proved sufficient to effect the miracle.

Verse 15

Luke probably wrote that the young man sat up and spoke to authenticate the resuscitation. Luke drew additional attention to the parallel incident when Elijah raised a widow’s son by noting that Jesus gave the young man back to his mother (cf. 1 Kings 17:23). He had given him to her once at birth indirectly, but now he gave him to her again. This act further illustrates Jesus’ compassion for the widow and His grace.

Verse 16

Again Luke noted that the result of Jesus’ ministry was that fear (Gr. phobos) gripped the people (cf. Luke 1:12; Luke 5:26). This is a natural human reaction to a demonstration of supernatural power. They also praised God that this act of power had such a beneficial effect (cf. Luke 2:20; Luke 5:25-26; Luke 18:43; Luke 23:47).

The people remembered the life-restoring miracles of Elijah and Elisha in that very neighborhood centuries earlier. They quickly concluded that God had sent them another prophet similar to them (cf. 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:18-37). However calling Jesus a prophet was not the same as acknowledging Him as Messiah much less God. Their second exclamation did not necessarily mean that they acknowledged Jesus as God. It is an Old Testament expression meaning that God had sent help to His people (Ruth 1:6; cf. Luke 1:68). Some of the people may have concluded that Jesus was Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14), but their words allow a broader meaning.

Verse 17

Luke concluded this pericope with a notation that the news (Gr. logos, word) about this incident radiated over that entire region (cf. Luke 4:14; Luke 4:37). The surrounding district probably refers to the area beyond Judea that included Perea where John heard of Jesus’ mighty works (Luke 7:18).

"Jesus’ amazing healings and exorcisms contribute to the very rapid spread of his fame. Comparison of the following statements shows how the narrator conveys an impression of rapidly growing fame: After the exorcism in the synagogue of Capernaum, ’a report about him was going out to every place of the neighboring area’ (Luke 4:37). After the healing of the leper, ’the word about him was spreading more’ (Luke 5:15). In the next scene Pharisees and teachers of the law are present ’from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem’ (Luke 5:17). This is surpassed in Luke 6:17-18, where we hear of ’a great multitude of the people from all the Jewish land and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and be healed.’ We reach the climax of this development in Luke 7:17: ’And this statement about him went out in the whole Jewish country and all the neighboring region.’" [Note: Tannehill, 1:85-86.]

In Acts the spread of the news about Jesus would go from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

This incident doubtless became the basis for many people concluding that Jesus was either the fulfillment of the prophecy about Elijah’s return (Malachi 4:5-6) or Elijah himself (Luke 9:8). Hopefully it brought others into saving faith in Him.

Verses 18-20

"These things" probably means the activities of Jesus that Luke had recorded including the healing of the centurion’s servant and the raising of the widow’s son. John evidently had second thoughts about Jesus because Messiah was to release prisoners (Isaiah 61:1) and Jesus claimed to fulfill that prophecy. However, He had not released John who was in prison (Matthew 11:2; cf. Luke 3:20). Moreover the fact that Jesus was apparently fulfilling the prophecies about Elijah’s coming may have made John wonder if Jesus was the Messiah or Elijah. Luke apparently reported John’s question twice in these verses to stress that this was the issue at stake.

"Disappointment often calls us to a deeper, less self-focused walk with God." [Note: Bock, Luke, p. 215. See also Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God.]

Verses 18-23

Jesus’ response to John the Baptist’s inquiry 7:18-23 (cf. Matthew 11:2-6)

Verses 18-35

3. The confusion about Jesus’ identity 7:18-35

It was only natural that these people had questions about who Jesus really was. Was He a prophet? Was He Elijah? Was He another former prophet? Was He "the Prophet" that Moses had predicted (Deuteronomy 18:18)? Was He the Messiah? Was He Immanuel, "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14)? Even John the Baptist began to have questions. On the one hand Jesus was fulfilling prophecy that indicated He was the Messiah. He was preaching righteousness, healing the sick, casting out demons, even raising the dead. However, He was not fulfilling other Messianic prophecies such as freeing the captives (John was one), judging Israel’s enemies, and restoring the Davidic dynasty to power.

Luke included much about the controversy over Jesus’ identity because it authenticates Jesus’ identity and strengthens the confidence of disciples in their Savior. As witnesses of Jesus Christ, Luke’s readers faced many hostile challengers of Jesus’ identity. This section enables disciples to counter these challenges more effectively.

Verses 21-23

Luke recorded and Jesus listed several messianic works that He had done (cf. Isaiah 29:18-19; Isaiah 35:5-6; Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 61:1). Isaiah did not predict that Messiah would cleanse lepers. Perhaps Jesus mentioned that because His ministry fulfilled Elisha’s ministry, and he cleansed a leper (cf. 2 Kings 5).

Acts of judgment are conspicuously absent from this list since that was not the time for judgment. Apparently in Jesus’ day the Jews believed that Messiah would not claim to be the Messiah before He performed many messianic works. [Note: R. Longenecker, The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity, pp. 71-74.] Jesus pronounced "blessed" those who accepted the evidence that He presented and concluded that He was the Messiah rather than stumbling over it. John was in danger of stumbling, namely, drawing the wrong conclusion and thereby falling into a trap (Gr. skandalisthe, cf. Isaiah 8:13-14). Stumbling is the opposite of believing here.

"There is a difference between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is a matter of the mind: we cannot understand what God is doing or why He is doing it. Unbelief is a matter of the will: we refuse to believe God’s Word and obey what He tells us to do." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:196-97.]

Verses 24-26

John was not reed-like nor was he soft or effeminate. John did not serve an earthly king but the heavenly King, and his clothing identified him as a prophet of God. Jesus said that John was a prophet but more than a prophet.

Verses 24-28

Jesus’ testimony to John’s identity 7:24-28 (cf. Matthew 11:7-11)

Evidently Jesus spoke these words praising John because John’s question about Jesus’ identity made John look like a vacillator, a reed blowing in the wind. Jesus assured his hearers that that was not what John was. John’s testimony to Jesus’ messiahship was reliable.

Verses 27-28

These verses are almost identical to Matthew 11:10-11. Jesus identified John as the forerunner of Messiah predicted in Malachi 3:1. As Messiah’s forerunner, John enjoyed a role greater than any other prophet, even those who gave messianic prophecies. However even the most insignificant participant in the messianic kingdom is superior to John because John only anticipated it.

"Being least in the kingdom is better than being the best anywhere else." [Note: Bailey, p. 117.]

Verse 29

Luke 7:29-30 do not appear in the Matthew parallel. They reveal a deep division among the people, and they set the scene for Jesus’ comments that follow (Luke 7:31-35).

Many of the "common people," even tax collectors, had responded to John’s message and had undergone his baptism (Luke 3:12; Luke 3:21). When they heard Jesus’ preaching, these people responded positively. They acknowledged God’s justice (justified God) when they heard Jesus speaking highly of John. That is, they accepted God’s ways as they were and did not try to force Him to behave as they might have preferred. Jesus’ words about John vindicated their earlier decision to submit to John’s baptism.

Verses 29-35

Jesus’ condemnation of His unbelieving generation 7:29-35 (cf. Matthew 11:16-19)

John had questioned Jesus’ identity, and Jesus had defended John’s identity. Jesus now warned his hearers who rejected John’s identity and Jesus’ identity.

Verse 30

However, the Pharisees and lawyers (scribes) did not submit to John’s baptism showing that they had rejected God’s purpose, namely, His plan of salvation for them.

Verses 31-32

This second group, the present generation of unbelievers, was similar to faithless Israel in the past (cf. Deuteronomy 32:5; Deuteronomy 32:20; Judges 2:10; Psalms 78:8; Psalms 95:10; Jeremiah 7:29). They, too, were subject to God’s wrath. They were behaving no better than fickle children who become upset when their peers refuse to cooperate with them. Jesus pictured the religious leaders as children sitting down and calling out to others to march to their tune. However, their peers would not cooperate, so the religious leaders criticized them.

Verses 33-34

These unbelieving religious leaders did not like John because he was too much of an ascetic. He would not "dance" for them. However they did not like Jesus either. They believed He was too much of a libertine as they defined that term, too joyful. Jesus would not "weep" for them. Because John ate locusts and wild honey instead of bread and wine, the unbelieving Pharisees and lawyers accused him of having a demon. His fanatical behavior also suggested this to them. Jesus, on the other hand, took part in feasts eating and drinking freely. They accused Him of gluttony and drunkenness. The Old Testament described an Israelite who was a glutton and a drunkard as worthy of stoning (cf. Deuteronomy 21:20). Furthermore Jesus associated with people whom the Jewish leaders regarded as apostates.

"People who want to avoid the truth about themselves can always find something in the preacher to criticize." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:197.]

John and Jesus were both living parables. John taught the importance of repentance, and Jesus offered joy and blessing. However the Jewish religious leaders missed the points of both their messages because John and Jesus did not "dance to their tunes." Jesus probably referred to Himself as the Son of Man here because this title always stresses His deity (Daniel 7:13-14). This would heighten the seriousness of the religious leaders’ rejection.

Verse 35

Despite the rejection of the Jewish leaders, those who accept God’s plan (Luke 7:30) as John and Jesus announced it demonstrated its rightness. Their lives were testimonies to the truthfulness of what they had believed, which John and Jesus had proclaimed. Jesus stated this truth as a principle. The behavior of good children (i.e., disciples) normally points to their having wise parents (i.e., John and Jesus). John and Jesus had also behaved as good children of God and had vindicated His wisdom by their behavior.

Luke’s account of these condemnatory words is fuller than Matthew’s. Luke focused on the religious leaders’ rejection whereas Matthew applied Jesus’ words to all the unbelieving Israelites that He faced more generally.

Verse 36

We should not overlook the fact that Jesus accepted an invitation to dinner from a Pharisee. He did not cut all the religious leaders off simply because most of them rejected Him. He dealt with people as individuals. Simon appears to have been a critic rather than a disciple of His. Nevertheless Jesus accepted his invitation.

Verses 36-50

4. The anointing by a sinful woman 7:36-50

This incident, appearing only in Luke’s Gospel, illustrates the truth just expressed in Luke 7:35. Here is a case in point of what Jesus had just described happening (Luke 7:34). Jesus reached out to a sinner only to receive criticism from a fastidious Pharisee. The love that the woman lavished on Jesus contrasts with Simon the Pharisee’s lack of love for Him. The motif of Jesus’ identity is also significant in this story since Jesus had forgiven the woman’s sins, and this raised a question about His authority. Again Luke featured a woman in his narrative showing Jesus’ concern for women. There are some similarities between this story and the one about Mary anointing Jesus’ feet in Simon the leper’s house, but that was a different incident (cf. Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8).

". . . the story of the sinful woman in the Pharisee’s house reminds us of the previous conflict over Jesus’ authority to release sins, suggesting that this is a continuing conflict. This reminder may also help readers to recall Jesus’ basic claim of authority to release sins in Luke 5:24." [Note: Tannehill, 1:106.]

Verse 37

Social custom allowed needy people to visit such meals and to partake of some of the leftovers. [Note: Liefeld, p. 903.] Moreover it was not unusual for people to drop in when a rabbi was visiting. [Note: Martin, p. 224.] Luke gallantly omitted describing why the woman was a sinner, though the commentators love to guess. Some have assumed that the woman was Mary Magdalene, but this is pure speculation. The point was that she was a member of the social class called sinners that the Pharisees regarded as treating the law loosely. The liquid perfume was in an expensive alabaster vial. Jewish women frequently wore such vials suspended from a cord around their necks. [Note: Morris, pp. 146-47.]

Verse 38

Jesus was probably reclining on a divan to eat with His head and arms close to the table and His feet stretched out away from it, as was customary at important meals. The woman’s sacrificial gift and her tears raise questions the text does not answer. Was she grateful to Jesus for some act of kindness that He had showed her, or was she seeking His help? By constantly kissing (Gr. katephilei, the imperfect tense) Jesus’ feet the woman was expressing her affection, respect, and submission (cf. 1 Samuel 10:1). Normally people anointed the heads of others, not their feet.

Verse 39

Simon deduced that Jesus could not be a prophet since if He were He would not permit a sinful woman to do what this woman was doing. The touch of a "sinner" brought ceremonial defilement.

Verse 40

Simon had no reason to expect Jesus’ words to him to have anything to do with what Simon had been thinking. Simon had concluded that Jesus could not tell sinners from non-sinners. He would now learn that Jesus knew what was in his heart (cf. Luke 5:22). Simon politely addressed Jesus as "teacher" (Gr. didaskale, Luke’s equivalent of "rabbi," cf. Luke 9:38; Luke 20:21; Luke 20:38; Luke 21:7; Luke 22:11), less than a prophet.

Verses 41-42

Jesus proceeded to tell His host a parable about two debtors. A denarius was worth one day’s wage for an agricultural laborer. Regardless of the buying power of the money in view obviously both men owed considerable debts, but one was 10 times greater than the other. Jesus regarded love as the expression of gratitude.

Verse 43

The answer to Jesus’ question may have been obvious to Simon, though he seems to have known very little about forgiveness and love. However, he apparently knew that Jesus sometimes used questions to lure His critics into a trap. So he replied with uneasy reluctance allowing the possibility that the answer might not be as obvious as it appeared to be.

Verses 44-46

Jesus probably surprised Simon by making the woman the focus of his parable and by contrasting her with Simon. Moreover Jesus made her the heroine and Simon the villain, the opposite of how Simon thought. The woman was guilty of sins of commission, but Simon was guilty of sins of omission. All the things Simon had failed to do for Jesus were courtesies that hosts frequently extended their guests. However Simon had not acted discourteously. He had just not performed any special acts of hospitality on Jesus. [Note: A. E. Harvey, The New English Bible: Companion to the New Testament, p. 244.] The scented oil in view would have been olive oil that was plentiful and inexpensive. The woman, however, had gone far beyond courtesy and had made unusual sacrifices for Jesus out of love. Simon appears in the incident as the greater sinner of the two.

Verse 47

Jesus next drew a conclusion from what He had just said. The woman’s great love showed that she had received great forgiveness. Jesus did not mean that she had earned great forgiveness with her great love. Her love was the result of, not the reason for, her forgiveness. This is clear from the parable (Luke 7:42-43) as well as from Jesus’ later statement that it was her faith, not her love, that had saved her (Luke 7:50). As a maxim, the intensity of one’s love tends to be proportionate to his perception of the greatness of his forgiveness.

Verse 48

Jesus now confirmed to the woman what had already taken place. This was a word of assurance. Jesus used the perfect tense in Greek (sosoken). We could translate it, "Your sins have been forgiven and stand forgiven." She had evidently obtained God’s forgiveness sometime before she entered Simon’s house. Jesus was not now imparting forgiveness to her for the first time but was commenting on her forgiven condition. This is clear because throughout the story Jesus consistently regarded the woman as a forgiven person. Her acts of love sprang from her sense of gratitude for having received forgiveness. Jesus had earlier forgiven the sins of the paralytic man in Capernaum (Luke 5:20). Here he did not forgive the sins of the sinful woman but announced authoritatively that they stood forgiven.

Verse 49

Some of the people present mistakenly assumed that Jesus was forgiving the woman’s sins. This again raised the question of who He was (cf. Luke 7:39; Luke 5:21). Jesus did not answer it nor did Luke. Those present and the readers could and can draw their own conclusion, which should have been and should be obvious by now.

Verse 50

Jesus concluded the incident by giving the woman a further word of encouragement and clarification. It was her faith, not her love, that had resulted in her salvation, of which her forgiveness was a part. Consequently she could depart at peace about her condition even though others might continue to regard her as a "sinner" (cf. Luke 8:48; Luke 17:19; Luke 18:42). Here salvation has the larger meaning of spiritual deliverance. This is clear because of Jesus’ previous comments about forgiveness and the lack of reference to physical deliverance (i.e., healing). Likewise the common Jewish farewell, "May God’s peace be yours" (Judges 18:6; 1 Samuel 1:17; 2 Samuel 15:9; 1 Kings 22:17; Acts 16:36; James 2:16), assumes a larger meaning when connected with spiritual salvation. This woman was able to go into a lasting condition of peace because of her faith (cf. Romans 5:1).

". . . Luke 7:36-50 is the first of three reported occasions (see Luke 11:37-54; Luke 14:1-24) on which Jesus is invited to dine at a Pharisee’s house, and each of the three is a comparatively lengthy scene. This type-scene repetition suggests that this is a characteristic situation during Jesus’ ministry and one of special interest to the narrator. Each of these scenes is an occasion of conflict." [Note: Tannehill, 1:178.]

"Jesus’ parable of the two debtors and His comments to Simon and the woman teach a number of lessons: (a) Salvation is the result of God’s gracious work received by faith. (b) God graciously forgives the debt of sin that no one can repay. (c) Peace with God is possible because of the forgiveness of sins. (d) The more one understands forgiveness, the more love he will have for Christ. (e) Humble service stems from a heart of gratitude for God’s grace." [Note: Bailey, p. 117.]

Luke

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/luke-7.html. 2012.

Sours: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/luke-7.html

Luke Chapter 7

J.C. Ryle

 

Section 37. The Faith of the Centurion, Luke 7:1-10

Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loves our nation, and he has built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not yourself: for I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto you: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it. When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

These verses describe the miraculous cure of a sick man. A centurion, or officer in the Roman army, applies to our Lord on behalf of his servant — and obtains what he requests. A greater miracle of healing than this, is nowhere recorded in the Gospels. Without even seeing the sufferer, without touch of hand or look of eye — our Lord restores a dying man to health, by a single word. He speaks — and the sick man is cured. He commands — and the deadly disease departs. We read of no prophet or apostle, who wrought miracles in this manner. We see here the finger of God!

We should notice in these verses — the KINDNESS of the centurion.

It is a part of his character which appears in three ways.

We see his kindness in his treatment of his servant. He cares for him tenderly when sick, and takes pains to have him restored to health.

We see his kindness again in his feeling towards the Jewish people. He did not despise them as other Gentiles commonly did. The elders of the Jews bear this strong testimony, "He loves our nation."

We see his kindness lastly in his liberal support of the Jewish place of worship at Capernaum. He did not love Israel "in word and tongue alone — but in deed." The messengers he sent to our Lord supported their petition by saying, "He has built a synagogue for us."

Now where did the centurion learn this kindness? How can we account for one who was a heathen by birth, and a soldier by profession — showing such a spirit as this? Habits of mind like these were not likely to be gathered from heathen teaching, or promoted by the society of a Roman camp. Greek and Latin philosophy would not recommend them. Tribunes, consuls, prefects and emperors would not encourage them.

There is but one account of the matter. The centurion was what he was — "by the grace of God." The Spirit had opened the eyes of his understanding, and put a new heart within him. His knowledge of divine things no doubt was very dim. His religious views were probably built on a very imperfect acquaintance with the Old Testament Scriptures. But whatever light from above he had — it influenced his life, and one result of it was the kindness which is recorded in this passage.

Let us learn a lesson from the centurion's example. Let us, like him, show kindness to everyone with whom we have to do. Let us strive to have an eye ready to see, and a hand ready to help, and a heart ready to feel, and a will ready to do good to all. Let us be ready to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.

This is one way to recommend our religion, and make it beautiful before men. Kindness is a grace that all can understand. This is one way to be like our blessed Savior. If there is one feature in Jesus' character more notable than another — it is His unwearied kindness and love. This is one way to be happy in the world, and see good days. Kindness always brings its own reward. The kind person will seldom be without friends.

We should notice, secondly, in this passage — the HUMILITY of the centurion.

It appears in his remarkable message to our Lord when He was not far from his house, "I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof — neither did I think myself worthy to come unto you." Such expressions are a striking contrast to the language used by the elders of the Jews. "He is worthy," said they, "for whom you should do this." "I am not worthy," says the good centurion, "that you should enter under my roof."

Humility like this, is one of the strongest evidences of the indwelling of the Spirit of God. We know nothing of humility by nature — for we are all born proud. To convince us of sin, to show us our own vileness and corruption, to put us in our right place, to make us lowly and self-abased — these are among the principal works which the Holy Spirit works in the soul of man.

Few of our Lord's sayings are so often repeated as the one which closes the parable of the Pharisee and Tax-collector, "Everyone who exalts himself — shall be abased; and he who humbles himself — shall be exalted." (Luke 18:14.) To have great gifts, and do great works for God, is not given to all believers. But all believers ought to strive to be clothed with humility.

We should notice, thirdly, in this passage — the centurion's FAITH.

We have a beautiful example of it in the request that he made to our Lord, "Just say the word, and my servant shall be healed." He thinks it needless for our Lord to come to the place where his servant lay dying. He regards our Lord as one possessing authority over diseases — as complete as his own authority over his soldiers, or a Roman Emperor's authority over himself. He believes that a word of command from Jesus, is sufficient to send sickness away. He asks to see no sign or wonder. He declares his confidence that Jesus is an almighty Master and King — and that diseases, like obedient servants, will at once depart at His orders.

Faith like this was indeed rare when the Lord Jesus was upon earth. "Show us a sign from Heaven!" was the demand of the sneering Pharisees. To see something sensational, was the great desire of the multitudes who crowded after our Lord. No wonder that we read the remarkable words, "Jesus marveled at him," and said unto the people, "I have not found such great faith even in Israel!" None ought to have been so believing as the children of those who were led through the wilderness, and brought into the promised land. But the last, was first — and the first, last. The faith of a Roman soldier proved stronger than that of the Jews.

Let us not forget to walk in the steps of this blessed spirit of faith which the centurion here exhibited. Our eyes do not yet behold the book of life. We see not our Savior pleading for us at God's right hand. But do we have Christ's promises? Then let us rest on them and fear nothing. Let us not doubt that every word that Christ has spoken, shall be made good. The word of Christ is a sure foundation. He who leans upon it shall never be confounded. Believers shall all be found pardoned, justified, and glorified at the last day. "Jesus says so" — and therefore it shall be done.

We should notice, finally, in these verses — the advantage of being connected with godly families.

We need no clearer proof of this than the case of the centurion's servant. We see him cared for in sickness. We see him restored to health through his master's intercession. We see him brought under Christ's notice through his master's faith. Who can tell but the outcome of the whole history, was the conversion and salvation of the man's soul? It was a happy day for that servant — when he first began service in such a household!

Well would it be for the Church, if the benefits of connection with the "household of faith," were more frequently remembered by professing Christians. Often, far too often, a Christian parent will hastily place his son in a position where his soul can get no good — simply for the sake of mere worldly advantage. Often, far too often, a Christian servant will seek a new place where true religion is not valued, for the sake of a little more wages.

These things ought not so to be. In all our moves — our first thought should be the interest of our souls. In all our settlements — our chief desire should be to be connected with godly people. In all our purposes and planning, for ourselves or our children, one question should ever be uppermost in our minds — "What shall it profit us to gain the whole world, and lose our own souls?" Good situations, as they are called — are often godless situations, and ruin to all eternity those who take them.

 

Section 38. Jesus Raises a Widow's Son, Luke 7:11-17

And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came near to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto you, Arise. And he who was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God has visited his people. And this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.

The wondrous event described in these verses, is only recorded in Luke's Gospel. It is one of the three great instances of our Lord restoring a dead person to life — and, like the raising of Lazarus and the ruler's daughter, is rightly regarded as one of the greatest miracles which He wrought on earth. In all three cases, we see an exercise of divine power. In each we see an indisputable proof that the Prince of Peace is stronger than the king of terrors — and that though death, the last enemy, is mighty, he is not as mighty as the sinner's Friend!

We learn from these verses — what sorrow SIN has brought into the world.

We are told of a funeral at Nain. All funerals are mournful things — but it is difficult to imagine a funeral more mournful than the one here described. It was the funeral of a young man — and that young man, the only son of his mother — and that mother, a widow. There is not an item in the whole story, which is not full of misery. And all this misery, be it remembered, was brought into the world by sin. God did not create sin at the beginning, when He made all things "very good." Sin is the cause of it all. "Sin entered into the world" when Adam fell — "and death by sin." (Romans 5:12.)

Let us never forget this great truth. The world around us is full of sorrow. Sickness, and pain, and infirmity, and poverty, and labor, and trouble — abound on every side. From one end of the world to the other — the history of families is full of lamentation, and weeping, and mourning, and woe.

And whence does it all come? Sin is the fountain and root to which all must be traced! There would neither have been tears, nor tares, nor illness, nor deaths, nor funerals in the earth — if there had been no sin.

We must bear this sinful and sorrowful state of things patiently. We cannot alter it. We may thank God that there is a remedy in the Gospel — and that this present life is not all. But in the meantime, let us lay the blame at the right door — let us lay the blame on sin!

How much we ought to hate sin! Instead of loving it, cleaving to it, dallying with it, excusing it, playing with it — we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred! Sin is the great murderer, and thief, and pestilence, and nuisance of this world! Let us make no peace with it. Let us wage a ceaseless warfare against it. It is "the abominable thing which God hates." Happy is he who is of one mind with God, and can say, "I abhor that which is evil!" (Romans 12:9.)

We learn, secondly, from these verses — how deep is the COMPASSION of our Lord Jesus Christ's heart

. We see this beautifully brought out in His behavior at this funeral in Nain. He meets the mournful procession accompanying the young man to his grave, and is moved with compassion at the sight. He does not wait to be requested to help. His help appears to have been neither asked for, nor expected. He saw the weeping mother, and knew well what her feelings must have been, for He had been born of a woman Himself. At once He addressed her with words alike startling and touching. He said unto her, "Do not weep." A few more seconds — and the meaning of His words became plain. The widow's son was restored alive to her. Her darkness was turned into light — and her sorrow into joy.

Our Lord Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His heart is still as compassionate as when He was upon earth. His sympathy with sufferers is still as strong. Let us bear this in mind, and take comfort in it. There is no friend or comforter who can be compared to Christ. In all our days of darkness, which must needs be many — let us first turn for consolation to Jesus the Son of God. He will never fail us, never disappoint us, and never refuse to take interest in our sorrows. He still lives — who made the widow's heart sing for joy in the gate of Nain. He still lives — to receive all laboring and heavy-laden ones, if they will only come to Him by faith. He still lives — to heal the broken-hearted, and be a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.

And He lives to do greater things than these one day. He lives to come again to His people, that they may weep no more at all — and that all tears may be forever wiped from their eyes!

We learn, lastly, from these verses — the almighty POWER of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can ask no proof of this more striking, than the miracle which we are now considering. He gives life back to a dead man, with a few words. He speaks to a cold corpse — and at once it becomes a living person. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye — the heart, the lungs, the brain, the senses, again resume their work and discharge their duty. "Young man," He cried, "I say unto you, Arise!" That voice was a voice mighty in operation. At once "he who was dead, sat up and began to speak."

Let us see in this mighty miracle a pledge of that solemn event, the general resurrection. That same Jesus who here raised one dead person — shall raise all mankind at the last day. "The hour comes in the which all who are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; those who have done good — unto the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil — unto the resurrection of damnation!" (John 5:28, 29.) When the trumpet sounds and Christ commands — there can be no refusal or escape. All must appear before His judgment bar in their bodies. All shall be judged according to their works.

Let us see, furthermore, in this mighty miracle — a lively emblem of Christ's power to quicken the dead in sins.

In Him is life. He quickens whom He will. (John 5:21.) He can raise to a new life — souls that now are dead in worldliness and sin. He can say to hearts that now are corrupt and lifeless, "Arise to repentance, and live in the service of God!" Let us never despair of any soul. Let us pray for our children, and and never lose heart. Our young men and our young women may be long traveling on the way to ruin. But let us pray on. Who can tell but He who met the funeral at the gates of Nain — may yet meet our unconverted children, and say with almighty power, "Young man, Arise!" With Christ, nothing is impossible.

Let us leave the passage with a solemn recollection of those things which are yet to happen at the last day. We read that "Fear seized them all!" at Nain, when the young man was raised. What then shall be the feelings of mankind when all the dead are raised at once?

The unconverted man may well fear that day! He is not prepared to meet God. But the true Christian has nothing to fear. He may lay himself down and sleep peacefully in his grave. In Christ He is complete and safe, and when he rises again — he shall see God's face in peace!

 

Section 39. Jesus and John the Baptist, Luke 7:18-23

And the disciples of John showed him of all these things. And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Are you he who should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist has sent us unto you, saying, Are you he who should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things you have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whoever shall not be offended in me.

The message which John the Baptist sent to our Lord in these verses — is particularly instructing, when we consider the circumstances under which it was sent. John the Baptist was now a prisoner in the hands of Herod. "When John was in prison, he heard what Christ was doing." (Matthew 11:2.)

John's life was drawing to a close. His opportunities of active usefulness were ended. A long imprisonment, or a violent death — were the only prospects before him. Yet even in these dark days, we see this holy man maintaining his old ground, as a witness to Christ. He is the same man that he was when he cried, "Behold the Lamb of God!" To testify of Christ, was his continual work as a preacher at liberty. To send men to Christ — was one of his last works as a prisoner in chains.

We should mark, in these verses — the wise fore-thought which John exhibited about his disciples, before he left the world.

He sent some of them to Jesus, with a message of inquiry, "Are you the One who was to come — or should we expect someone else?" He doubtless calculated that they would receive such an answer as would make an indelible impression on their minds — and he was right. They got an answer in deeds, as well as words. They received an answer which probably produced a deeper effect than any arguments which they could have heard from their master's lips.

We can easily imagine that John the Baptist must have felt much concern about the future course of his disciples. He knew their ignorance and weakness in the faith. He knew how natural it was for them to regard the disciples of Jesus with feelings of jealousy and envy. He knew how likely it was that a petty party-spirit would creep in among them, and make them keep aloof from Christ when their own master was dead and gone.

Against this unhappy state of things, he makes provision — as far as possible, while he is yet alive. He sends some of them to Jesus, that they may see for themselves what kind of teacher He is, and not reject Him unseen and unheard. He takes care to supply them with the strongest evidence that our Lord was indeed the Messiah. Like his divine Master, having loved his disciples — he loved them to the end. And now, perceiving that he must soon leave them — he strives to leave them in the best of hands. He does his best to make them acquainted with Christ.

What an instructive lesson we have here for ministers, and parents, and heads of families — for all, in short, who have anything to do with the souls of others! We should endeavor, like John the Baptist — to provide for the future spiritual welfare of those we leave behind when we die. We should often remind them, that we cannot always be with them. We should often urge them to beware of the broad way — when we are taken from them, and they are left alone in the world. We should spare no pains to make all, who in any way look up to us, acquainted with Christ.

Happy are those ministers and parents, whose consciences can testify on their death-beds — that they have told their hearers and children to go to Jesus and follow Him!

We should mark, secondly, in these verses — the peculiar answer which the disciples of John received from our Lord.

We are told that "At that very time — Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses, and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind." And then, "He said unto them, Go your way — and tell John the things you have seen and heard." He makes no formal declaration that he is the Messiah who was to come. He simply supplies the messengers with facts to repeat to their master, and sends them away. He knew well how John the Baptist would employ these facts. He would say to his disciples, "Behold in Him who worked these miracles — the prophet greater than Moses. This is the one whom you must hear and follow, when I am dead. This is indeed the Christ!"

Our Lord's reply to John's disciples, contains a great practical lesson which we shall do well to remember. It teaches us that the right way to test the value of Churches and ministers — is to examine the works they do for God, and the fruits they bring forth. Would we know whether a Church is true and trust-worthy? Would we know whether a minister is really called of God, and sound in the faith? We must apply the old rule of Scripture, "You shall know them by their fruits!" As Christ would be known by His works and doctrine — so must true Churches of Christ, and true ministers of Christ be known.

When the dead in sin are not quickened, and the blind are not restored to sight, and the poor have no glad tidings proclaimed to them — then we may generally suspect that Christ's presence is lacking. Where He is — He will be seen and heard. Where He is — there will be more than empty profession, forms, ceremonies, and a show of religion. There will be actual, visible saving work in hearts and lives!

We should mark, lastly, in these verses — the solemn warning which our Lord gave to John's disciples.

He knew the danger in which they were. He knew that they were disposed to question His claim to be the Messiah, because of His lowly appearance. They saw no signs of a king about Him — no riches, no royal apparel, no guards, no courtiers, and no crown. They only saw a man — to all appearance as poor as any one of themselves, attended by a few fishermen and publicans. Their pride may have rebelled at the idea that such a one as this, could be the long-awaited Messiah! It seemed incredible! There must be some mistake! Such thoughts as these, in all probability, passed through their minds. Our Lord read their hearts, and dismissed them with a searching caution. "Blessed," He said, "is he who does not take offense at Me."

The warning is one that is just as needful now as it was when it was delivered. So long as the world stands, Christ and His Gospel will be a stumbling-block to many. To hear that we are all lost and guilty sinners, and cannot save ourselves — to hear that we must give up our own righteousness, and trust in One who was crucified between two thieves — to hear that we must be content to enter Heaven side by side with wicked sinners and harlots, and to owe all our salvation to free grace — this is always offensive to the natural man! Our proud hearts do not like it. We are offended.

Let the caution of these verses sink down deeply into our memories. Let us take heed that we are not offended by Jesus or His message. Let us beware of being offended — either by the humbling doctrines of the Gospel, or the holy practice which it enjoins on those who receive it.

Secret pride is one of the worst enemies of man! It will prove at last to have been the ruin of thousands of souls. Thousands will be found to have had the offer of salvation, but to have rejected it. They did not like the terms. They would not stoop to "enter in at the strait gate." They would not humbly come as sinners to the throne of grace. In a word, they were offended. And then will appear the deep meaning in our Lord's words, "Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me."

 

Section 40. Jesus' Testimony to John the Baptist, Luke 7:24-30

And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went you out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out for to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts. But what went you out for to see? A prophet? Yes, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, which shall prepare your way before you. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

The first point that demands our notice in this passage — is the tender care which Jesus takes of the characters of His faithful servants.

He defends the reputation of John the Baptist, as soon as his messengers were departed. He saw that the people around him were apt to think lightly of John — partly because he was in prison, and partly because of the inquiry which his disciples had just brought.

He pleads the cause of His absent friend, in warm and strong language. He bids His hearers to dismiss from their minds their unworthy doubts and suspicions about this holy man. He tells them that John was no wavering and unstable character — that he was no mere reed shaken by the wind. He tells them that John was no mere courtier around king's palaces, though circumstances at the end of his ministry had brought him into connection with king Herod. He declares to them that John was "much more than a prophet" — for he was a prophet who had been the subject of prophecy himself. And he winds up his testimony by the remarkable saying, that "among those who are born of woman — there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist!"

There is something deeply touching in these sayings of our Lord on behalf of his absent servant. The position which John now occupied as Herod's prisoner, was widely different from that which he occupied at the beginning of his ministry. At one time he was the best-known and most popular preacher of his day. There was a time when "Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him — and were being baptized in Jordan." (Matthew 3:5.)

Now he was an obscure prisoner in Herod's prison — deserted, friendless, and with nothing before him but death. But the lack of man's favor — is no proof that God is displeased. John the Baptist had one Friend who never failed him and never forsook him — a Friend whose kindness did not ebb and flow like John's popularity, but was always the same. That Friend was our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is comfort here for all believers who are defamed, slandered, and falsely accused. Few are the children of God, who do not suffer in this way, at one time or other. The accuser of the brethren knows well that character is one of the points in which he can most easily wound a Christian. He knows well that slanders are easily called into existence — greedily received and propagated — and seldom entirely silenced. Lies and false reports are the chosen weapons by which he labors to injure the Christian's usefulness, and destroy his peace.

But let all who are assaulted in their characters, rest in the thought that they have an Advocate in Heaven who knows all their sorrows. That same Jesus who maintained the character of His imprisoned servant before a Jewish crowd — will never desert any of His people. The world may frown on them. Their names may be cast out as evil by man. But Jesus never changes. He will one day plead their cause before the whole world.

The second point which demands our attention in these verses is — the vast superiority of the privileges enjoyed by believers under the New Testament, compared to those of believers under the Old

Testament. This is a lesson which appears to be taught by one expression used by our Lord respecting John the Baptist. After commending his graces and gifts — He adds these remarkable words, "He who is least in the kingdom of God, is greater than John."

Our Lord's meaning in using this expression appears to be simply this. He declares that the spiritual light of the least disciple who lived after His crucifixion and resurrection — would be far greater than that of John Baptist, who died before those mighty events took place. The weakest believing hearer of Paul, would understand things, by the light of Christ's death on the cross — which John the Baptist could never have explained. Great as that holy man was in faith and courage — the humblest Christian would, in one sense, be greater than he. Greater in grace and works — he certainly could not be. But beyond doubt, he would be greater in privileges and knowledge.

Such an expression as this should teach all Christians to be deeply thankful for Christianity. We have probably very little idea of the wide difference between the religious knowledge of the best-instructed Old Testament believer — and the knowledge of one familiar with the New Testament. We little know how many blessed truths of the Gospel were at one time seen through a glass darkly — which now appear to us plain as noon-day. Our very familiarity with the Gospel, makes us blind to the extent of our privileges. We can hardly realize at this time how many glorious truths of our faith were brought out in their full proportions — by Christ's death on the cross, and were never unveiled and understood until His blood was shed.

The hopes of John the Baptist and Paul were undoubtedly one and the same. Both were led by one Spirit. Both knew their sinfulness. Both trusted in the Lamb of God. But we cannot suppose that John the Baptist could have given as full an account of the way of salvation, as Paul. Both looked at the same object of faith. But one saw it afar off — and could only describe it generally. The other saw it close at hand — and could describe the reason of his hope particularly. Let us learn to be more thankful. The child who knows the story of the cross — possesses a key to religious knowledge which patriarchs and prophets never enjoyed!

The last point which demands our attention in these verses — is the solemn declaration which it makes about man's power to injure his own soul.

We read that "The Pharisees and Scribes rejected the counsel of God against themselves." The meaning of these words appears to be simply this — that they rejected God's offer of salvation. They refused to avail themselves of the door of repentance which was offered to them by John the Baptist's preaching. In short, they fulfilled to the very letter the words of Solomon, "You have rejected all my counsel, and would have none of my reproof." (Proverbs 1:25.)

That every man possesses a power to ruin himself forever in Hell — is a great foundation truth of Scripture, and a truth which ought to be continually before our minds. Impotent and weak as we all are for everything which is good — we are all naturally potent for that which is evil. By continued impenitence and unbelief, by persevering in the love and practice of sin, by pride, self-will, laziness, and determined love of the world — we may bring upon ourselves everlasting destruction! And if this takes place, we shall find that we have no one to blame but ourselves.

God has "no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Christ is "willing to gather" men to His bosom, if they will only be gathered. (Matthew 23:37.) The fault will lie at man's own door. Those who are lost — will find that they have "lost their own souls." (Mark 8:36.)

What are we doing ourselves? This is the chief question that the passage should suggest to our minds. Are we likely to be lost — or saved? Are we in the narrow path to Heaven — or the broad way Hell? Have we received that Gospel which we hear into our hearts? Do we really live by that Bible which we profess to believe? Or are we daily traveling towards the bottomless pit — and ruining our own souls? It is a painful thought that the Pharisees are not the only people who "reject the counsel of God." There are thousands of people called Christians — who are continually doing the very same thing.

 

Section 41. Jesus Exposes the Unreasonableness of Unbelief, Luke 7:31-35

And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and you have not danced; we have mourned to you, and you have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say, He has a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children.

We learn, in the first place, from these verses — that the hearts of unconverted men are often desperately perverse as well as wicked.

Our Lord brings out this lesson in a remarkable comparison — describing the generation of men among whom He lived while He was on earth. He compares them to children. He says, that children at play were not more wayward, perverse, and hard to please — than the Jews of His day. Nothing would satisfy them. They were always finding fault. Whatever ministry God employed among them — they took exception to it. Whatever messenger God sent among them — they were not pleased.

First came John the Baptist — living a retired, ascetic, self-denying life. At once the Jews said, "He has a demon!" After him the Son of Man came — eating and drinking, and adopting habits of social life like the ordinary run of men. At once the Jews accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard!

In short, it became evident that the Jews were determined to receive no message from God at all. Their pretended objections, were only a cloak to cover over their hatred of God's truth. What they really disliked was, not so much God's ministers — as God Himself.

Perhaps we read this account with wonder and surprise. We think that never were men so wickedly unreasonable, as these Jews were. But are we sure that their conduct is not continually repeated among Christians? Do we not know that the same thing is continually going on around us at the present day? As strange as it may seem at first sight — the generation which will neither "dance" when their companions "play the flute," nor "lament" when they "sing a dirge" — is only too numerous in the Church of Christ.

Is it not a fact that many who strive to serve Christ faithfully, and walk closely with God — find their neighbors and relations always dissatisfied with their conduct? No matter how holy and consistent their lives may be — they are always thought wrong. If they withdraw entirely from the world, and live, like John the Baptist, a retired and ascetic life — then the cry is raised that they are exclusive, narrow-minded, sour-spirited, and self-righteous. If, on the other hand, they go much into society, and endeavor as far as they can to take interest in their neighbor's pursuits — the remark is soon made that they are no better than other people, and have no more real religion than those who make no profession at all!

Treatment like this is only too common. Few are the decided Christians who do not know it by bitter experience. The servants of God in every age — whatever they do, are blamed.

The plain truth is, that the natural heart of man hates God! The carnal mind is enmity against God! It dislikes His law, His Gospel, and His people. It will always find some excuse for not believing and obeying. The doctrine of repentance — is too strict for it! The doctrine of faith and grace — is too easy for it! John the Baptist goes too much out of the world! Jesus Christ goes too much into the world! And so the heart of man excuses itself for sitting still in its sins.

All this must not surprise us. We must make up our minds to find unconverted people as perverse, unreasonable, and hard to please — as the Jews of our Lord's time.

We must give up the vain idea of trying to please everybody. The thing is impossible — and the attempt is mere waste of time. We must be content to walk in Christ's steps — and let the world say what it likes. Do what we will — we shall never satisfy it, or silence its bitter remarks. The world first found fault with John the Baptist — and then with his blessed Master. And it will go on caviling and finding fault with that Master's disciples — so long as one of them is left upon earth!

We learn, secondly, from these verses — that the wisdom of God's ways is always recognized and acknowledged by those who are wise-hearted.

This is a lesson which is taught in a sentence of somewhat obscure character, "Wisdom is justified by all her children." But it seems difficult to extract any other meaning from the words, by fair and consistent interpretation.

The idea which our Lord desired to impress upon us appears to be, that though the vast majority of the Jews were hardened and unreasonable — there were some who were not; and that though multitudes saw no wisdom in the ministry of John the Baptist and Himself — there were a chosen few who did. Those few were the "children of wisdom." Those few, by their lives and obedience, declared their full conviction that God's ways of dealing with the Jews were wise and right — and that John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus were both worthy of all honor. In short, they "justified" God's wisdom — and so proved themselves to be truly wise.

This saying of our Lord about the generation among whom He lived, describes a state of things which will always be found in the Church of Christ. In spite of the cavils, sneers, objections, and unkind remarks with which the Gospel is received by the majority of mankind — there will always be some in every country who will assent to it, and obey it with delight. There will never be lacking a "little flock" which hears the voice of the Shepherd gladly, and counts all His ways to be right.

The people of this world may mock at the Gospel, and pour contempt on the lives of believers. They may count their practice madness, and see no wisdom nor beauty in their ways. But God will take care that He has a believing people in every age. There will be always some who will assert the perfect excellence of the doctrines and requirements of the Gospel — and will "justify the wisdom" of Him who sent it. And these, however much the world may despise them — are those whom Jesus calls wise. They are "wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15.)

Let us ask ourselves, as we leave this passage — whether we deserve to be called children of wisdom? Have we been taught by the Spirit — to know the Lord Jesus Christ? Have the eyes of our understanding been opened? Have we the wisdom that comes from above?

If we are truly wise — then let us not be ashamed to confess our Master before men. Let us boldly declare that we approve the whole of His Gospel — all of its doctrines and all of its requirements.

We may find few with us — and many against us. The world may laugh at us, and count our wisdom no better than folly. But such laughter is but for a moment. The hour is coming when the few who have confessed Christ, and justified His ways before men — shall be confessed and "justified" by Him before His Father and the holy angels!

Section 42. Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman, Luke 7:36-50

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spoke within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto you. And he says, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, You have rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, See you this woman? I entered into your house, you gave me no water for my feet: but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You gave me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil you did not anoint: but this woman has anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. And he said unto her, Your sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgives sins also? And he said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

The deeply interesting narrative contained in these verses, is only found in the Gospel of Luke. In order to see the full beauty of the story — we should read, in connection with it, the eleventh chapter of Matthew. We shall then discover the striking fact that the woman whose conduct is here recorded, most likely owed her conversion to the well-known words, "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden — and I will give you rest."

That wondrous invitation, in all human probability — was the means of the saving of her soul, and gave her that sense of peace for which we see her so grateful. A full offer of free pardon — is generally God's chosen instrument for bringing sinners to repentance.

We see in this passage that men may show some outward respect to Christ — and yet remain unconverted.

The Pharisee before us is a case in point. He showed our Lord Jesus Christ more respect than many did. He even asked Jesus to have dinner with him. Yet all this time he was profoundly ignorant of the nature of Christ's Gospel. His proud heart secretly revolted at the sight of a poor contrite sinner being allowed to wash our Lord's feet. And even the hospitality he showed, appears to have been cold and niggardly. Our Lord Himself says, "You did not give me any water for my feet. You did not give me a kiss. You did not put oil on my head." In short, in all that the Pharisee did, there was one great defect. There was outward civility — but there was no heart-love.

We shall do well to remember the case of this Pharisee. It is quite possible to have a decent form of religion — and yet to know nothing of the Gospel of Christ. It is possible to treat Christianity with respect — and yet to be utterly blind about its cardinal doctrines. It is quite possible to behave with great correctness and propriety at Church — and yet to hate justification by faith, and salvation by grace, with a deadly hatred.

Do we really feel affection toward the Lord Jesus? Can we say, "Lord, you know all things — you know that I love you!" Have we cordially embraced His whole Gospel? Are we willing to enter Heaven side by side with the chief of sinners, and to owe all our hopes to sovereign grace? These are questions which we ought to consider. If we cannot answer them satisfactorily — then we are in no respect better than Simon the Pharisee; and our Lord might say to us, "I have something to tell you."

We see, in the next place, in this passage — that grateful love is the secret of doing much for Christ.

The penitent woman, in the story before us, showed far more honor to our Lord than the Pharisee had done. She "stood at His feet behind Him weeping." She "washed His feet with tears." She "wiped them with the hair of her head." She "kissed His feet, and anointed them with costly ointment." No stronger proofs of reverence and respect could she have given — and the secret of her giving such proofs, was love. She loved our Lord, and she thought nothing too much to do for Him. She felt deeply grateful to our Lord, and she thought no mark of gratitude too costly to bestow on Him.

More "doing" for Christ is the universal demand of all the Churches. It is the one point on which all are agreed. All desire to see among Christians — more good works, more self-denial, more practical obedience to Christ's commands. But what will produce these things? Nothing — nothing but love. There never will be more done for Christ — until there is more hearty love to Christ Himself. The fear of punishment, the desire of reward, the sense of duty — are all useful arguments, in their way, to persuade men to holiness. But they are all weak and powerless — until a man loves Christ. Once let that mighty principle get hold of a man — and you will see his whole life changed.

Let us never forget this. However much the world may sneer at "feelings" in religion, and however false or unhealthy religious feelings may sometimes be — the great truth still remains, that love to Jesus — is the secret of doing for Jesus. The heart must be engaged for Christ — or the hands will soon hang down. The affections must be enlisted into His service, or our obedience will soon stand still. It will always be the loving workman who will do most in the Lord's vineyard.

We see, lastly, in this passage — that a sense of having our sins forgiven is the mainspring and life-blood of love to Christ.

This, beyond doubt, was the lesson which our Lord wished Simon the Pharisee to learn, when He told him the story of the two debtors. "One owed his creditor five hundred pence — and the other fifty." Both had "nothing to pay," and both were forgiven freely. And then came the searching question, "Which of them will love him most?" Here was the true explanation, our Lord told Simon, of the deep love which the penitent woman before Him had displayed. Her many tears, her deep affection, her public reverence, her action in anointing His feet — were all traceable to one cause. She had been much forgiven — and so she loved much.

Her love for Jesus, was . . .
  the effect of her forgiveness — not the cause;
  the consequence of her forgiveness — not the condition;
  the result of her forgiveness — not the reason;
  the fruit of her forgiveness — not the root.

Would the Pharisee know why this woman showed so much love? It was because she felt much forgiven. Would he know why he himself had shown his guest so little love? It was because he felt under no obligation to Jesus. He had no consciousness of having obtained forgiveness — nor any sense of debt to Christ.

Forever let the mighty principle laid down by our Lord in this passage — abide in our memories, and sink down into our hearts. It is one of the great corner-stones of the whole Gospel. It is one of the master-keys to unlock the secrets of the kingdom of God. The only way to make men holy — is to teach and preach free and full forgiveness through Jesus Christ. The secret of being holy ourselves — is to know and feel that Christ has pardoned our sins. To know that we are justified and at peace with God — is the only root that will bear the fruit of holiness.

Forgiveness, must go before sanctification. We shall do nothing — until we are reconciled to God. This is the first step in religion. We must work from life — and not for life. Our best works before we are justified, are little better than splendid sins. We must live by faith in the Son of God — and then, and not until then, we shall walk in His ways. The heart which has experienced the pardoning love of Christ — is the heart which loves Christ, and strives to glorify Him.

Let us leave the passage with a deep sense of our Lord Jesus Christ's amazing mercy and compassion to the chief of sinners. Let us see in his kindness to the woman of whom we have been reading — an encouragement to any one, however wicked he may be, to come to Him for pardon and forgiveness. That word of His shall never be broken, "The one who comes unto me — I will never cast out." Never, never need any one despair of salvation — if he will only come to Christ.

Let us ask ourselves, in conclusion: What are we doing for Christ's glory? What kind of lives are we living? What proof are we making of our love to Him who first loved us, and died for our sins? These are serious questions. If we cannot answer them satisfactorily — we may well doubt whether we are forgiven. The hope of forgiveness, which is not accompanied by love in the life — is the hope of a hypocrite, which ends only in wrath. The man whose sins are really cleansed away — will always show by his ways that he loves the Savior who cleansed them.

Sours: https://gracegems.org/Ryle/l07.htm
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Luke 7 – The Sick Healed, the Dead Raised, the Sinner Forgiven

A. A centurion’s servant is healed.

1. (1-5) The centurion’s request.

Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”

a. He entered Capernaum: After the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-49), Jesus came to his city of residence (Matthew 4:13, He came and dwelt in Capernaum). This means that the location of the Sermon on the Plain was likely not far from Capernaum.

b. A certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die: This centurion appears as a devout, kind, humble man – yet, all the same he was a centurion – not only a Gentile, but a Roman soldier, and an instrument of Israel’s oppression.

i. The centurion had an unusual attitude towards his slave. Under Roman law, a master had the right to kill his slave, and it was expected that he would do so if the slave became ill or injured to the point where he could not work.

c. He sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant: Apparently, the centurion did not think himself worthy of a personal meeting with Jesus, and perhaps thought Jesus would not want to meet with a Gentile like himself, so he sent Jewish leaders as his representatives to Jesus.

d. The one for whom He should do this was deserving: The Jewish leaders did this for the centurion because he was a worthy man. In contrast, we can come to Jesus directly without a representative even when we are unworthy; He justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5).

i. “These considerations suggest that the captain was a God-fearer, a Gentile who embraced Israel’s God but who did not undergo circumcision.” (Pate)

2. (6-8) The centurion tells Jesus that He need not come, because he knows that Jesus need not be present to do His work.

Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having 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.

a. Then Jesus went with them: Jesus did not hesitate to go to the centurion’s house, and we half wish the centurion would have allowed Him. Would Jesus have entered a Gentile’s house? It was completely against Jewish custom, but not against God’s law.

i. Pate cites a rabbinic writing known as m. Obolot 18:7: “The dwelling-places of Gentiles are unclean.”

b. Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof: The centurion knew that it might be a problem for this prominent rabbi to come into his home, so he had his friends meet Jesus on the way to say that it was not necessary for Him to come all the way to the home.

i. The centurion was a remarkable man. The elders said he was worthy; he said he was not worthy. They praised him for building a house of worship; he felt unworthy that Jesus would come to his house. They said he was deserving; he felt himself undeserving. Strong faith and great humility are entirely compatible.

ii. “Two features of character blend in him which do not often meet in such graceful harmony. He won the high opinion of others and yet he held a low estimation of himself.” (Spurgeon)

iii. “Your faith will not murder your humility, your humility will not stab at your faith; but the two will go hand in hand to heaven like a brave brother and a fair sister, the one bold as a lion the other meek as a dove, the one rejoicing in Jesus the other blushing at self.” (Spurgeon)

c. But say the word, and my servant will be healed: The centurion fully understood that Jesus’ healing power was not a magic trick that required the magician’s presence. Instead he knew Jesus had true authority and could command things to be done and see them completed outside His immediate presence.

i. The centurion showed great faith in Jesus’ word. He understood that Jesus could heal with His word just as easily as with a touch.

d. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me: The centurion also knew about the military chain of command, and how the orders of one in authority were unquestioningly obeyed. He saw that Jesus had at least that much authority.

i. “He believes that, just as he, a man with authority, is obeyed by his subordinates, just so surely will the authoritative utterance of Christ be fulfilled even though He is not present where the sick person is.” (Geldenhuys)

3. (9-10) Jesus heals the servant and marvels at the centurion’s faith.

When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

a. He marveled at him: The centurion’s understanding of Jesus’ spiritual authority made Jesus marvel. His simple confidence in the ability of Jesus’ mere word to heal showed a faith that was free of superstitious reliance on merely external things. This was great faith, worthy of praise.

i. Jesus only marveled on a few occasions. He did so here, at the faith of the centurion, and also at the unbelief of His own people (Mark 6:6). Jesus can be amazed at either our faith or our unbelief.

b. I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! Jesus considered the faith of this Gentile centurion – a living symbol of Jewish oppression – and thought it greater than any faith He had seen among the people of Israel.

i. As a political entity, there was no Israel; there was only a covenant people descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Yet Jesus still called them Israel.

c. Found the servant well who had been sick: Jesus both answered the centurion’s unselfish request and proved that He really did have the authority the centurion trusted Him to have.

B. Jesus raises a boy from the dead.

1. (11-13) Jesus comes upon a funeral procession.

Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

a. Many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd: The fame and popularity of Jesus continued to grow. Many – more than only the twelve – were disciples of Jesus (in some sense).

i. Nain is “a town today located in the Jezreel plain, six miles southwest of Nazareth.” (Pate)

b. A dead man was being carried out: Any funeral is a tragedy, but this was a special loss. The deceased was the only son of his mother and that the mother herself was a widow. The loss of her only son meant a miserable future for the widow.

i. A large crowd from the city was with her: “The procession probably consisted partly of hired mourners and musicians with flutes and cymbals.” (Geldenhuys)

c. Do not weep: We are specifically told of the compassion of Jesus on this occasion. He instantly understood the situation and had sympathy upon the widow, giving her hope despite the tragedy of the situation.

i. When the Lord saw her: “Luke uses the absolute form of Lord, ‘the Lord’ (kyrios), which emphasizes Jesus’ deity.” (Pate)

ii. In a sermon on this passage (Young Man, Is This For You?), Spurgeon mentioned a few ways in which this event illustrates spiritual truth:

· The spiritually dead cause great grief to their gracious friends.

· For this grief there is only one helper, but He can truly help.

2. (14-17) Jesus raises the young man from the dead.

Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.” And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

a. He came and touched the open coffin: Luke gives the vivid image of an open coffin. Jesus looked at the boy and spoke to a dead person as if he were alive.

b. Young man, I say to you, arise: Jesus spoke to the dead as if they were alive. Romans 4:17 says that this is what God alone does; to speak to the dead as if they were alive. God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did (Romans 4:17).

c. So he who was dead sat up and began to speak: On more than one occasion Jesus broke up funeral processions by raising the dead. This was also true for Jarius’ daughter (Luke 8:41-56) and Lazarus (John 11:1-45). Jesus didn’t like death, and He regarded it as an enemy that had to be defeated.

i. This young man was not resurrected but resuscitated; he rose from the dead only to die again. God promises that we will be resurrected and rise from the dead never to die again.

ii. “At this point, a famous anecdote comes to mind from the life of D.L. Moody. Mr. Moody was asked to conduct a funeral service, so he decided to study the gospels to find a funeral sermon delivered by Jesus. However, Moody searched in vain, because every funeral Jesus attended He broke up by raising the dead!” (Pate)

C. Jesus and John the Baptist.

1. (18-19) John sends a question to Jesus.

Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

a. Then the disciples of John: John the Baptist had his own disciples. Some of Jesus’ disciples started as John’s disciples (such as Andrew, John 1:35-40). It was noted when the disciples of Jesus began to outnumber those of John (John 4:1).

b. Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another? John 1:29-36 and other passages indicate that before this, John clearly recognized Jesus as the Messiah. His doubt might be explained because perhaps he himself had misunderstood the ministry of the Messiah. Perhaps John thought that if Jesus were really the Messiah, He would perform works connected with a political deliverance of Israel – or at least the deliverance of John, who was in prison.

i. It is possible that John made a mistaken distinction between the Coming One and the Christ, the Messiah. There is some indication that some Jews of that time distinguished between a prophet to come promised by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15) and the Messiah. The dominant note here is one of confusion; John’s long trial in prison had confused him.

ii. “John was already in prison, and things began to appear incomprehensible to him. He had expected that Christ would speedily destroy the powers of darkness and judge the unrighteous. But instead of doing this, He leaves him, His forerunner, helpless in prison.” (Geldenhuys)

2. (20-23) Jesus’ answer to John the Baptist’s disciples: tell John that prophecy regarding the Messiah is being fulfilled.

When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’” And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

a. And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight: This was the real power of the Messiah in action; yet performed in personal, even humble ways.

i. Most of these miracles fulfill some promise found in Isaiah.

· The blind see (Isaiah 61:1, 35:5).

· The lame walk (Isaiah 35:6).

· The deaf hear (Isaiah 35:5).

· The dead live (Isaiah 26:19).

· The poor hear the good news (Isaiah 61:1).

b. Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: Jesus wanted to assure both John and his disciples that He was the Messiah. But He also reminded them that His power would be displayed mostly in humble acts of service, meeting individual needs and not in spectacular displays of political deliverance.

i. We might phrase John’s question like this: “Jesus, why don’t You do more?” Morgan answered this: “To all such restless impatience, He utters the same warning…For the most part, the way of the Lord’s service is the way of plodding perseverance in the doing of apparently small things. The history of the Church shows that this is one of the lessons most difficult to learn.”

c. Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me: Jesus knew that the focus of His ministry was offensive to the expectation of the Jewish people, who longed for political deliverance from Roman domination. But there was a blessing for those who were not offended because of the Messiah who came against the expectation of the people.

i. “The verb rendered takes offence is picturesque. It derives from the trapping of birds, and refers to the action that depresses the bait-stick and so triggers off the trap. It is a colourful way of referring to the cause of trouble.” (Morris)

ii. “It is remarkable that the same word is predicated of John the Baptist and Israel concerning their response to Jesus – scandalized (skandalisthe; cf. Luke 7:23 with Romans 11:9 [cf. 9:33]). Israel was scandalized by Jesus, and we must take Jesus seriously in Luke 7:23 that it was possible for His audience to be offended at His nontraditional role, including John the Baptist.” (Pate)

iii. “A friend has turned these words into another beatitude – The blessedness of the unoffended.” (Meyer)

3. (24-28) Jesus teaches about John the Baptist.

When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written:

‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’

For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

a. What did you go out into the wilderness to see? Jesus explained that John was a great man of God, one who did not live for his own comfort or the approval of others. John was a chosen prophet of God, not a man-pleaser.

b. Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You: Jesus quoted the Malachi (Malachi 3:1) passage about the coming of John, because the prophets themselves were not prophesied, but John was, and this was one way that he was greater than all previous prophets.

· John was steady, not shaken easily like a reed.

· John was sober, in that he lived a disciplined life, not in love with the luxuries and comforts of this world.

· John was a servant, a prophet of God.

· John was sent, as the special messenger of the Lord.

· John was special, in that he could be considered the greatest under the Old Covenant.

· John was second to even the least in the kingdom under the New Covenant.

c. For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: Yet, John was greater than all the prophets, mainly because he had the privilege of saying of the Messiah “He is here” instead of “He is coming.”

d. But he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he: Though John was great, he was not born again under the New Covenant. This is because he lived and died before the completion of Jesus’ work at the cross and empty tomb. Therefore, he did not enjoy the benefits of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:6-13).

i. “As we may say, as a rule, that the darkest day is lighter than the brightest night; so John, though first of his own order, is behind the last of the new or Gospel order. The least in the Gospel stands on higher ground than the greatest under the law.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “This is no small comfort to the ministers of the gospel, against the contempts cast upon them by the world. They are somebodies in heaven, whatever men make of them.” (Trapp)

4. (29-30) The reaction to the teaching of Jesus.

And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

a. And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John: Those who had repented in preparation for the Messiah by receiving John’s baptism found it easy to receive what Jesus said.

b. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves: The religious leaders had little use for the demonstration of repentance in John’s baptism. Their hearts were hard towards John, so it was no surprise that they were also hard towards Jesus.

5. (31-35) Jesus admonishes those who refuse to be pleased by either His ministry or John’s.

And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying:

‘We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by all her children.”

a. To what then shall I liken the men of this generation: Jesus considered the nature of His current generation, and how they were choosy and uncertain in receiving God’s message and His messengers.

b. We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not weep: The idea was that those who have a heart to criticize will find something to criticize. Many people wouldn’t be pleased with either John or Jesus.

i. “It is probable that our Lord alludes here to some play or game among the Jewish children, no account of which is now on record.” (Clarke)

ii. The point is clear enough. “If the message is unwelcome, nothing that the messenger can say or do will be right.” (Maclaren)

c. He has a demon: The religious leaders looked at the ascetic lifestyle of John and concluded that he was mad and demon possessed.

d. A glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners: The title friend of tax collectors and sinners was especially in contrast to the more severe ministry of John the Baptist. Not many people would say that John the Baptist was the friend of tax collectors and sinners.

i. “A malicious nick-name at first, it is now a name of honour: the sinner’s lover.” (Bruce)

ii. Jesus didn’t say this of Himself; He told us what the religious leaders said about Him – and for the most part, it was wrong. It wasn’t true that John the Baptist had a demon. It wasn’t true that Jesus was a glutton and a winebibber. It wasn’t true – at least in the sense that they meant it – that Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and sinners. But there was another sense, a glorious sense, in which that last accusation was true.

· He wasn’t a friend of tax collectors and sinners in the sense that He was like them, or in the sense that He helped them commit their sin. This is what the religious leaders meant by their accusation, and it was a false accusation.

· He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners in the sense that He loved them; He did not despise them or push them away. He genuinely wanted to help them and rescue them from the guilt, the shame, the power, and the penalty of their sin.

e. But wisdom is justified by her children: However, the wise man is proved to be wise by his wise actions (her children). Jesus had especially in mind the wisdom to accept both Jesus and John for what they were and what were called to be.

i. “Probably the children of wisdom is a mere Hebraism here for the products or fruits of wisdom.” (Clarke)

ii. People criticized John but look at what he did – he led thousands of people into repentance, preparing the way for the Messiah. People criticized Jesus but look at what He did – taught and worked and loved and died like no one ever has.

D. Jesus forgives a sinful woman.

1. (36-38) A sinful woman anoints Jesus’ feet.

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

a. Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him: This seems to show that relations between Jesus and the religious leaders were not yet totally antagonistic. There were some Pharisees who at least wanted a closer, honest look at Jesus.

b. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner: Some suppose this was Mary Magdalene, but we have no evidence of this. In John 12:3 Mary of Bethany also anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, but this was a separate incident.

i. “It ought not to astonish you that there were two persons whose intense affection thus displayed itself; the astonishment should rather be that there were not two hundred who did so, for the anointing of the feet of an honored friend…Loved as Jesus deserved to be, the marvel is that he was not oftener visited with these generous tokens of human love.” (Spurgeon)

c. Who was a sinner: This tells us more than that she was a sinner in the sense that all people are. She was a particularly notorious sinner – most suppose that she was a prostitute. Her presence in the Pharisee’s home showed courage and determination.

i. Trapp calls her, “A strumpet, a she-sinner… a hussy.”

ii. It was bold for a woman with a sinful reputation to come into the house of a Pharisee, but she was willing to do anything to express her love for Jesus.

d. Brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil: Both the container and the contents show that this was an expensive gift she brought to honor Jesus. Since Jesus later announced that her sins were forgiven (Luke 7:48-50), it may be that Jesus forgave her earlier, and would soon publically declare her forgiven.

i. Morris on the alabaster flask: “It had no handles and was furnished with a long neck which was broken off when the contents were needed…We may fairly deduce that this perfume was costly. Jewish ladies commonly wore a perfume flask suspended from a cord round the neck, and it was so much a part of them that they were allowed to wear it on the sabbath.”

ii. “Her service to Jesus was personal. She did it all herself, and all to him. Do you notice how many times the pronoun occurs in our text? [she, three times and her twice in Luke 7:37-38] … She served Christ himself. It was neither service to Peter, nor James, nor John, nor yet to the poor or sick of the city, but to the Master himself; and, depend upon it, when our love is in active exercise, our piety will be immediately towards Christ — we shall sing to him, pray to him, teach for him, preach for him, live to him.” (Spurgeon)

e. And stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears: We can imagine that as the woman anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, she was overcome with emotion. With tears flowing from her eyes, she washed His feet with her tears, wiped them clean with her hair, and she kissed His feet repeatedly.

i. “People reclined on low couches at festive meals, leaning on the left arm with the head towards the table and the body stretched away from it. The sandals were removed before reclining.” (Morris)

ii. Normally, this oil was used on someone’s head. “In all probability, the woman intended to anoint Jesus’ head with her perfume. But, because Jesus, like the other participants, reclined with His head toward the table, the closest the woman could get to Jesus was His feet.” (Pate)

iii. “O for more of this love! If I might only pray one prayer this morning, I think it should be that the flaming torch of the love of Jesus should be brought into every one of our hearts, and that all our passions should be set ablaze with love to him.” (Spurgeon)

iv. “To have her hair flowing would be deemed immodest…[she] kissed fervently, again and again.” (Bruce) We can only imagine how awkward this scene was, and how everyone silently watched the woman and her emotional display. No one said anything until Jesus broke the silence in the following verses.

2. (39-40) An objection to what the woman did.

Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.”

a. When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this: The host now became a questioner, possibly a hostile one.

b. This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner: Simon the Pharisee doubted that Jesus was a prophet because he thought that Jesus was unable to see this woman’s heart. Jesus will show that He can read the heart of man by exposing Simon’s heart.

c. Simon, I have something to say to you: Jesus broke the silence – probably a terribly awkward silence – by saying that He had something to say, and to say personally to Simon.

i. “When all the philosophers are dumb, and cannot give one word of help or comfort; when learning has no message to inspire or to console the heart; when sympathy hesitates to break the silence…the Lord has something to say.” (Morrison)

3. (41-43) Jesus answers with a parable.

“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”

a. There was a certain creditor who had two debtors: Jesus used a simple parable to illustrate the point that the more we are forgiven, the more we should love.

i. “Christ tells the supercilious and self-conceited Pharisee by this parable, that himself was a sinner also as well as the woman, and as a debtor to God’s judgment, had as much need of his grace in Christ for remission of sin and removal of wrath.” (Trapp)

ii. “All men are debtors to God; yet some are greater debtors than others.” (Spurgeon)

b. Which of them will love him more? Simon seemed to hesitate in his response (I suppose). He probably understood that Jesus set a trap with this story.

4. (44-47) Jesus applies the parable to both Simon and the sinful woman.

Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

a. Do you see this woman? Simon the Pharisee thought that Jesus was the one who could not see her. His thought was, “Jesus, don’t you see this shameful woman associating so closely to You?” Jesus turned the thought around on Simon, saying, “Do you see this woman? Simon, do you see her love, her repentance, her devotion? That’s what I see.”

i. Simon the Pharisee did not see the woman as she was (a humble sinner seeking forgiveness, pouring out love for Jesus) because he looked at her as she had been (a notorious sinner).

ii. “It is not easy for us to blot out a past, and to free ourselves from all prejudice resulting from our knowledge of that past. Yet that is exactly what the Lord does. And He does so, not unrighteously, but righteously. He knows the power of His own grace, and that it completely cancels the past, and gives its own beauty to the soul.” (Morgan)

b. I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet: Simon the Pharisee denied Jesus the common courtesies from a host to a guest – washing the feet, a kiss for a greeting, and anointing the head with oil. Yet, he criticized the woman for giving these courtesies to Jesus.

i. Jesus noticed neglect and appreciated devotion. He did not reject deeply emotional devotion.

c. I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much: She wasn’t forgiven because of her great love; her great love was evidence that she had been forgiven, probably privately on a prior occasion and now publicly.

5. (48-50) Jesus assures the woman of her forgiveness from God.

Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

a. Your sins are forgiven: If Jesus has already said that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:47), yet He also said this directly to the woman. We need the healing power inherent in the words your sins are forgiven.

i. It can be so hard for us to truly believe that we are forgiven; often, we must be persuaded of it.

b. Who is this who even forgives sins? Jesus had the authority to forgive the woman, and He was right to do so. She displayed humility, repentance, trust, and love for Jesus.

i. “Even the guests began to realize that Jesus was more than a prophet; He was divinely able to forgive an unclean woman.” (Pate)

c. Your faith has saved you: The key to her forgiveness was faith – it was her faith that saved her, because it was her faith that believed the words from Jesus your sins are forgiven. Faith enabled her to take the grace God gave to her.

i. Forgiveness is ready from God; there is no hesitation or shortage on His part. Our part is to come with humility and loving submission to Jesus, and to receive the forgiveness He offers by faith.

d. Go in peace: The woman came to Jesus in complete humility, with the attitude that she was not worthy to even be in His presence. That was a good way for her to come to Jesus, but He did not want her to stay there. He raised her up, acknowledged her love, forgave her sin, and sent her in peace.

i. The word “go” was probably not welcome. She liked being at the feet of Jesus. Yet Jesus sweetened the “go” by adding, “in peace.” She could go in peace because she heard from Jesus that her faith had saved her.

ii. Of the works done in this chapter, this was the greatest. Healed sickness (as in the centurion’s servant), or restored life (as in the widow’s son) are not permanent works of healing, because those bodies would one day die again. Sins that are forgiven are forgiven forever.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Sours: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/luke-7/
Luke 7 - Daily Bible Study

Commentary on Luke 7:1-10

Centurions show up rather frequently in the Gospels and in Acts (e.g. Luke 7:2; 23:47; Acts 10:1; cf. Luke 3:14).

This in itself is not surprising, since centurions would have been a part of the Roman occupation force in Judea and Galilee in the first century. What is surprising is that these representatives of Roman occupation are portrayed in quite positive ways in the New Testament and here in Luke 7:1-10. They end up responding to Jesus and his kingdom message with a recognition of his identity and, sometimes, with faith.

The centurion in Luke 7:1-10 fits this surprising profile. He is a Gentile (and presumably Roman, although not all members of the Roman army were ethnically Roman), who seeks Jesus out for the healing of his slave. This oppressor of the Jewish people initiates a conversation with a Jewish healer. He sends Jewish elders to speak on his behalf to Jesus to prove that he has been a patron of the Jewish people (7:3). Then he sends his friends to keep Jesus from coming to his house, expressing confidently and with an analogy from his own role in the Roman army that this Jewish healer, Jesus, is able heal from a distance (7:6-8).

Conversely, Jesus is cast in the unlikely role of responder and not initiator in this passage. When asked to heal the slave, he goes with the Jewish elders (7:6). He responds in amazement at the centurion’s confidence that Jesus needn’t actually come to his house to heal his slave: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith” (7:9). And finally, Jesus heals the servant, although this is not narrated explicitly (7:10).

Nevertheless, Luke’s reader has been prepared for this surprising portrait of one from the Roman occupation army coming in faith to Jesus for healing. In Luke’s programmatic introduction to Jesus’ ministry (4:16-30), Jesus has preached a message from Isaiah about restoration that references Elisha’s healing of Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-14). Jesus speaks of ‘hometown rejection’ that leads the Old Testament prophet Elisha to heal not the many people in Israel who had leprosy but instead an army commander of Aram, a country hostile to Israel (2 Kings 5:2). And because Elisha heals this Gentile and military enemy, Naaman comes to acknowledge, “there is no God in all the earth except in Israel” (5:15).

Returning to the passage in Luke 7:1-10, the primary characterization that Luke offers of this enemy of Israel is faith that surpasses what Jesus has seen in Israel (7:9). The centurion’s faith is apparent in his understanding of Jesus’ God-given authority to heal and to do so even from a distance. “For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it” (7:8).

Centurions had a middling role in the hierarchy of the Roman army, put in charge of about 80 soldiers but situated below those who commanded cohorts (consisting of six centuries) and legions (consisting of ten cohorts). The inclusion of “also” at the beginning of verse 8 suggests an analogy between the authority of centurion and Jesus’ authority. As the centurion is given authority from above to command those under him, so the implication is that Jesus has an authority from God that he can enact by simply by saying the word. The centurion’s faith in Jesus’ authority proves to be well placed when Jesus heals his slave without visiting his home (7:10).

Somehow, it seems fitting in this surprising story that Jesus himself is surprised and amazed at the trust this centurion demonstrates (7:9). He is surprised to find faith in a centurion that surpasses what he has seen in anyone from Israel. And we can learn something from Jesus’ own surprise at the specter of an enemy soldier proving to be a model of faith for the people of God. Maybe we should not be surprised by the unlikely places that faith shows up in our own world. It could even show up in those we think are our enemies.

As we preach this passage and drive this point home, we should be careful not to mitigate possible tension arising in our audiences from Jesus healing on behalf of an enemy soldier. If we only highlight the centurion as a person with faith in Jesus, our congregations might miss how surprising this scenario is in Jesus’ (and Luke’s) context. We can remind them that this man, although he has proven to be a friend to the Jewish people by building their synagogue, still represents Roman (enemy) occupation.

Like the people of Nazareth who respond to the story of Elisha and Naaman with anger and rage (4:28), people might respond less than positively if we preach that Jesus cares about, ministers to, and wants to bless our enemies. Moreover, according to this surprising story, God can use those we perceive as our enemies to teach us about true faith. In the end, this story is reminiscent of Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6:27: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Sours: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/ordinary-09-3/commentary-on-luke-71-10-2

7 meaning luke

Luke 7 Bible Commentary

Complete     Concise

Chapter Contents

The centurion's servant healed. (1-10) The widow's son raised. (11-18) John the Baptist's inquiry concerning Jesus. (19-35) Christ anointed in the house of the Pharisee The parable of the two debtors. (36-50)

Commentary on Luke 7:1-10

(Read Luke 7:1-10)

Servants should study to endear themselves to their masters. Masters ought to take particular care of their servants when they are sick. We may still, by faithful and fervent prayer, apply to Christ, and ought to do so when sickness is in our families. The building places for religious worship is a good work, and an instance of love to God and his people. Our Lord Jesus was pleased with the centurion's faith; and he never fails to answer the expectations of that faith which honours his power and love. The cure soon wrought and perfect.

Commentary on Luke 7:11-18

(Read Luke 7:11-18)

When the Lord saw the poor widow following her son to the grave, he had compassion on her. See Christ's power over death itself. The gospel call to all people, to young people particularly, is, Arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light and life. When Christ put life into him, it appeared by the youth's sitting up. Have we grace from Christ? Let us show it. He began to speak: whenever Christ gives us spiritual life, he opens the lips in prayer and praise. When dead souls are raised to spiritual life, by Divine power going with the gospel, we must glorify God, and look upon it as a gracious visit to his people. Let us seek for such an interest in our compassionate Saviour, that we may look forward with joy to the time when the Redeemer's voice shall call forth all that are in their graves. May we be called to the resurrection of life, not to that of damnation.

Commentary on Luke 7:19-35

(Read Luke 7:19-35)

To his miracles in the kingdom of nature, Christ adds this in the kingdom of grace, To the poor the gospel is preached. It clearly pointed out the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, that the messenger he sent before him to prepare his way, did it by preaching repentance and reformation of heart and life. We have here the just blame of those who were not wrought upon by the ministry of John Baptist or of Jesus Christ himself. They made a jest of the methods God took to do them good. This is the ruin of multitudes; they are not serious in the concerns of their souls. Let us study to prove ourselves children of Wisdom, by attending the instructions of God's word, and adoring those mysteries and glad tidings which infidels and Pharisees deride and blaspheme.

Commentary on Luke 7:36-50

(Read Luke 7:36-50)

None can truly perceive how precious Christ is, and the glory of the gospel, except the broken-hearted. But while they feel they cannot enough express self-abhorrence on account of sin, and admiration of his mercy, the self-sufficient will be disgusted, because the gospel encourages such repenting sinners. The Pharisee, instead of rejoicing in the tokens of the woman's repentance, confined his thoughts to her former bad character. But without free forgiveness none of us can escape the wrath to come; this our gracious Saviour has purchased with his blood, that he may freely bestow it on every one that believes in him. Christ, by a parable, forced Simon to acknowledge that the greater sinner this woman had been, the greater love she ought to show to Him when her sins were pardoned. Learn here, that sin is a debt; and all are sinners, are debtors to Almighty God. Some sinners are greater debtors; but whether our debt be more or less, it is more than we are able to pay. God is ready to forgive; and his Son having purchased pardon for those who believe in him, his gospel promises it to them, and his Spirit seals it to repenting sinners, and gives them the comfort. Let us keep far from the proud spirit of the Pharisee, simply depending upon and rejoicing in Christ alone, and so be prepared to obey him more zealously, and more strongly to recommend him unto all around us. The more we express our sorrow for sin, and our love to Christ, the clearer evidence we have of the forgiveness of our sins. What a wonderful change does grace make upon a sinner's heart and life, as well as upon his state before God, by the full remission of all his sins through faith in the Lord Jesus!

  1. Bible > Bible Commentary
  2. Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (concise)
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Sours: https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary/mhc/luke/7
One Verse - Luke 7:47

Luke 7 Commentary


From Jensen's Survey of the NT by permission 
MacArthur's Introduction 
Swindoll's Introduction to Luke

Introduction 

Luke 7:1    Christ finds a greater faith in the centurion, a Gentile than in any of the Jews;
Luke 7:10    heals his servant, being absent;
Luke 7:11    raises from death the widow's son at Nain;
Luke 7:18    answers John's messengers with the declaration of his miracles;
Luke 7:24    testifies to the people what opinion he held of John;
Luke 7:31    inveighs against the Jews, who with neither the manners of John nor of Jesus could be won;
Luke 7:36    and suffering his feet to be washed and anointed by a woman who was a sinner, he shows how he is a friend to sinners, to forgive them their sins, upon their repentance.


John Hannah Outline

The authentication of the Son of Man  (Luke 7:1-8:56)

  1. The healing of the Centurion's servant  (Luke 7:1-10)
    1. The setting  (Luke 7:1-5)
    2. The Centurion's attitude  (Luke 7:6-8)
    3. Jesus' response  (Luke 7:9-10)
  2. The raising of the widow's son  (Luke 7:11-17)
    1. The setting  (Luke 7:11-12)
    2. The miracle  (Luke 7:13-15)
    3. The response  (Luke 7:16-17)
  3. The explanation of John the Baptist  (Luke 7:18-35)
    1. John's inquiry  (Luke 7:18-20)
    2. Jesus' reply  (Luke 7:21-23)
    3. Jesus' message of John  (Luke 7:24-28)
    4. The varied response  (Luke 7:29-30)
    5. Jesus' characterization of Israel  (Luke 7:31-35)
  4. The gratitude of the sinful woman  (Luke 7:36-50)
    1. The setting  (Luke 7:36-38)
    2. The Pharisee's reaction  (Luke 7:39)
    3. Jesus' explanation  (Luke 7:40-48)
    4. The result  (Luke 7:49-50)
  5. The preaching of the kingdom of God  (8:1-21)

Luke 7:1 When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum.

KJV  Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.


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JESUS ON 
THE MOVE

When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people - What discourse? The message in Lk 6:20-49 (which some take as Luke's version of the Sermon on the Mount). MacArthur points on that this follow-up to His discourse was of great significance. Why? Because "The theme of the Lord’s sermon was true discipleship, and this Roman soldier was a living model of the genuine faith of a disciple of Jesus Christ. Everything that Jesus said was characteristic of a true disciple marked this man." (Luke Commentary-MacArthur) 

He went to Capernaum -  Jesus was a Man on the move. He had a mission and had only a finite amount of time to complete it and so He gives us a perfect example of One who redeemed the time. Are you redeeming the time beloved, the "time of your life"? As James says "you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (James 4:14+) 

Rod Mattoon - After Jesus taught the people that you can identify a person by the fruit of their actions (Lk 6:43-49+), He entered the city of Capernaum. Of the 33 miracles performed by the Lord Jesus, eleven of them were done in Capernaum and only two were done for Gentiles. This is one of them. This passage marks a turning point in Luke's account of Jesus' ministry. Up until this point, Jesus has dealt exclusively with the Jews; here he begins to include the Gentiles.

Completed(4137) (pleroo) means to be filled (passive voice = saints acted on by outside force) to the brim (a net, Mt 13:48, a building, Jn 12:3, Acts 2:2, a city, Acts 5:28, needs Phil 4:19), to make complete in every particular, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to flood, to diffuse throughout, to pervade, to take possession of and so to ultimately to control. Luke's uses of pleroo - Lk. 1:20; Lk. 2:40; Lk. 3:5; Lk. 4:21; Lk. 7:1; Lk. 9:31; Lk. 21:24; Lk. 22:16; Lk. 24:44; Acts 1:16; Acts 2:2; Acts 2:28; Acts 3:18; Acts 5:3; Acts 5:28; Acts 7:23; Acts 7:30; Acts 9:23; Acts 12:25; Acts 13:25; Acts 13:27; Acts 13:52; Acts 14:26; Acts 19:21; Acts 24:27

Discourse(4487)(rhema from verb rheo = to speak - to say, speak or utter definite words) refers to the spoken word, especially a word as uttered by a living voice. Laleo is another word translated speak but it refers only to uttering a sound whereas rheo refers to uttering a definite intelligible word. Rhema refers to any sound produced by the voice which has a definite meaning. It focuses upon the content of the communication. Luke's uses of rhema - Lk. 1:37; Lk. 1:38; Lk. 1:65; Lk. 2:15; Lk. 2:17; Lk. 2:19; Lk. 2:29; Lk. 2:50; Lk. 2:51; Lk. 3:2; Lk. 5:5; Lk. 7:1; Lk. 9:45; Lk. 18:34; Lk. 20:26; Lk. 24:8; Lk. 24:11; Acts 2:14; Acts 5:20; Acts 5:32; Acts 6:11; Acts 10:22; Acts 10:37; Acts 10:44; Acts 11:14; Acts 11:16; Acts 13:42; Acts 16:38; Acts 26:25; Acts 28:25

Capernaum (See location on NW side of Sea of Galilee)(2746)(Kapharnaoum of Hebrew origin - kaphar - a village + Nachum = Nahum) is literally the village of Nahum that was located on the NW shore of Sea of Galilee Matthew recording that Jesus left "Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali" and this village served as His  headquarters during His ministry in Galilee (Mt 4:13; 9:1; Mk 2:1). Capernaum must have been a sizable town because Matthew was a tax collector there when he was called by Jesus (Mk 2:14). In addition a high officer of the king (Herod Antipas) had his residence there and built a synagogue for the people (Mt 8:5-13; Lu 7:1-10). The Lord performed many striking miracles there, healing of the centurion’s palsied servant (M t8:5-13), a man sick of the palsy borne to Jesus by four friends (Mk 2:3-12), and the nobleman’s son (Jn 4:46-54). In spite of Jesus’ miraculous works and teachings, the people did not repent and Jesus predicted the judgment of the town "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” (Mt 11:23, 24; cf Lu 10:15).  Capernaum - 16x in 16v -  Mt. 4:13; Mt. 8:5; Mt. 11:23; Mt. 17:24; Mk. 1:21; Mk. 2:1; Mk. 9:33; Lk. 4:23; Lk. 4:31; Lk. 7:1; Lk. 10:15; Jn. 2:12; Jn. 4:46; Jn. 6:17; Jn. 6:24; Jn. 6:59

J C Ryle - Let it be remembered that a remarkable miracle of healing had already been worked at Capernaum in the cure of the ruler’s son, described at the end of the fourth chapter of St. John. This cure was distinct from that described here. The Centurion had in all probability heard of it. Few places, let it be noted, witnessed more of our Lord’s miracles than Capernaum. This circumstance probably throws light on our Lord’s expression, “Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven.” (Matt. 11:23.)

Luke 7:2  And a centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die.

KJV   And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.

  • centurion's Lk 23:47; Mt 27:54; Acts 10:1; 22:26; 23:17; 27:1,3,43
  • who Ge 24:2-14,27,35-49; 35:8; 39:4-6; 2 Kings 5:2,3; Job 31:5; Pr 29:21; Acts 10:7; Col 3:22-25; 4:1
  • was sick Lk 8:42; Jn 4:46,47; 11:2,3
  • Luke 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Luke 7:1-10 An Effective Servant - Steven Cole
  • Luke 7:1-2 The Man Who Amazed Jesus, Part 1 - John MacArthur
  • Luke 7:2-9 The Man Who Amazed Jesus, Part 2 - John MacArthur

Parallel Passage in Matthew 8:5-13+ -  text in bold not in Luke's account

And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him (see note below), 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7 Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal (therapeuo) him.” 8 But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11 “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed (iaomai) that very moment.

CHRIST'S CROSS-CULTURAL ENCOUNTER
WITH A CENTURION IN CAPERNAUM

And a centurion's slave (doulos - one whose will was complete subject to will of the master), who was highly regarded by him - Centurions were mainstays of the Roman army, commanding a “century” of about 100 soldiers. And for context, a Roman legion could be composed of up to sixty "centuries." That the centurion had high regard for his slave says much about this Roman soldier's character. Gaius noted that it was universally accepted that masters possessed the power of life and death over their slaves (Institutes, 1.52). The Roman writer Varro insisted that the only difference between a slave, an animal, and a cart was that the slave talked (Agriculture, 1.17). Slaves were often abused, young boys in particular, since pedophilia was not uncommon. This centurion was different than most Romans for he had a tender concern for his lowly servant! As an aside the NT mentions 3 centurions who seem to have giving evidence of genuine faith (Mt 27:54;  Acts 10:1-48). Mattoon adds that "The attitude of love and concern of this soldier was quite unusual about his slave. In Roman law, a slave was defined as a living tool. He had no rights. In fact, a master could abuse him and even kill him if he chose to do so. A Roman writer on estate management recommended the farmer to examine his implements every year and to throw out those which were old and broken, and to do the same with his own slaves. Normally when a slave was past his ability to work, he was thrown out to die. The attitude of this centurion, however, was not like this at all." Bishop Hall adds the interesting observationthat a “Great variety of visitors resorted to Christ. One comes to Him for a son; another for a daughter; a third for himself. I see none come to Him for his servant but this one Centurion."

As Gene Brooks says "This centurion, obviously a Gentile serving in the oppressive Roman Army, models what Luke calls “great faith,” illustrating two of Luke’s key themes of walking in faith vs. unbelief and in the Gospel’s extension to the Gentile nations....Since Roman troops were not stationed in Galilee until AD 44, this centurion may have served under Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 3:1), performing police, security, or customs services. He seems to have been a “God fearer” like Cornelius (Acts 10:2), a Gentile worshiping the God of Israel but has not converted to Judaism. Apparently he financed the construction of the Capernaum synagogue (Luke 7:5) because the local Jewish leaders first come to Jesus, asking him to do something for the man. There is, in fact, archaeological evidence on inscriptions that Gentiles supported synagogues, and Josephus says that Gentiles frequently supported synagogues. These people were highly respected by Jews."

Centurion (1543)(Hekatontarches from hekaton = one hundred + archo = to command) means a commander of a hundred soldiers, and would be our equivalent of an army captain or company commander. Centurion is from Latin centurio an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers (the Latin equivalent being used by Mk 15:39-45). These veteran soldiers maintained discipline and commanded great respect, and were paid 15 times an ordinary soldier’s wage. They were highly motivated, competent soldiers, and generally decent persons.  "The favourable references to centurions in the New Testament suggest that they may have been carefully chosen because of their quality of character. Some even became believers in Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 27:54; Acts 10:1-2; Acts 23:17-18; Acts 27:43)." (Bridgeway) Centurions received double the salary of ordinary soldiers. It usually took fifteen years or more of military service to work one's way to the rank of centurion.  

Polybius says "that the centurions were chosen by merit, and so were men remarkable not so much for their daring courage as for their deliberation, constancy, and strength of mind." Another translation says “They wish centurions not so much to be venturesome and daredevil as natural leaders, of a steady and sedate spirit. They do not desire them so much to be men who will initiate attacks and open the battle, but men who will hold their ground when worsted and hard pressed and be ready to die at their posts” (Histories 6.24.9). Barclay translates it this way "Centurions are desired not to be overbold and reckless so much as good leaders, of steady and prudent mind, not prone to take the offensive to start fighting wantonly, but able when overwhelmed and hard-pressed to stand fast and die at their posts." 

IVP Bible Background Commentary - The nearest Roman legion was stationed in Syria, but many troops were also stationed at Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast; perhaps smaller groups were stationed or settled (after retirement?) at various points in Palestine. Centurions commanded a “century” (i.e., 100), which in practice consisted of sixty to eighty troops. Centurions were the backbone of the Roman army, in charge of discipline.

Vincent on centurion - A centuria was originally a division consisting of a hundred things of a kind; and thence came to mean any division, whether consisting of a hundred or not. In military language it meant a division of troops, a company, not necessarily of a hundred, the captain of which was called centurio. The numbers of a century varied from about fifty to a hundred. The Roman legion consisted of ten cohorts or σπεῖραι, bands, as “the Italian band,” of which Cornelius was a centurion (Acts 10:1). The commanders of these cohorts were called chiliarchs, or chief captains (John 18:12, Rev.). Each cohort contained six centuries, or companies, of which the commanders were called centurions. The duty of the centurion was chiefly confined to the regulation of his own corps, and the care of the watch. The badge of his office was the vitis, or vine-stock. He wore a short tunic, and was also known by letters on the crest of his helmet. Dean Howson (“Companions of St. Paul”) remarks on the favorable impression left upon the mind by the officers of the Roman army mentioned in the New Testament, and cites, besides the centurion in this passage, the one at the cross, and Julius, who escorted Paul to Rome. See, further, on Acts 10:1.

NET Note on centurion - A centurion was a non-commissioned officer in the Roman army or one of the auxiliary territorial armies, commanding a centuria of (nominally) 100 men. The responsibilities of centurions were broadly similar to modern junior officers, but there was a wide gap in social status between them and officers, and relatively few were promoted beyond the rank of senior centurion. The Roman troops stationed in Judea were auxiliaries, who would normally be rewarded with Roman citizenship after 25 years of service. Some of the centurions may have served originally in the Roman legions (regular army) and thus gained their citizenship at enlistment. Others may have inherited it, like Paul.

POSB -  Centurion: an officer in the Roman armed forces. He commanded about one hundred soldiers. To the Jew, the centurion had three things against him: he was bitterly hated because he was non-Jewish, a Gentile; he was of the nation that had conquered Palestine, Rome; and he was of the armed and occupying force. Every time a centurion is mentioned in the New Testament it is with honor. Every time a centurion is mentioned in the New Testament it is with honor.

 1. There was the centurion who had great faith in the power of Jesus (Mt. 8:5).
 2. There was the centurion who recognized Jesus hanging on the cross as the Son of God (Mt. 27:54).
 3. There was the centurion, Cornelius, who was the first Gentile convert to the Christian church (Acts 10:22).
 4. There was the centurion who recognized that Paul was a Roman citizen and rescued him from the rioting mob (Acts 23:17–23).
 5. There was the centurion who took steps to deliver Paul from being murdered after being informed of the Jews’ plan (Acts 24:23).
 6. There was the centurion whom Felix ordered to escort and look after Paul (Acts 24:23).
 7. There was the centurion who escorted Paul on his last journey to Rome. He treated Paul with great courtesy and accepted him as the leader when the storm struck the ship (Acts 27:43).
 The structure of the Roman military was built around the Roman legion which consisted of 6000 men.
       ⇒  The Roman legion was divided into cohorts: each cohort had 600 soldiers. This means there were ten cohorts in each legion.
      ⇒  The cohort was divided into centuries. Each century had 100 men and was led by a centurion. The centurions were the backbone of the Roman legions. They were the leaders in closest contact with the men; therefore, they were the officers upon whom the top brass depended so heavily 

Highly regarded (1784)(entimos from en = in + timḗ = honor, esteem, price) means honored, esteemed, estimable, dear (Lk 7:2; 14:8; Phil. 2:29; Nu 22:15; Neh 2:16; 4:14); precious, highly valued, costly, spoken of Christ as a Stone (1 Pet. 2:4, 6 cf. Is. 28:16 = "costly cornerstone").  Entimos is descriptive of honored or respected men or “valued” objects. It was used to refer to a distinguished guest at a banquet (Lk 14:8). In Php 2:29 Paul used it to described Epaphroditus and other men who were to be honored in the church, while Peter used it to describe the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pe 2:4, 6). Substantivaly it denotes “men of high rank or office” (see Liddell-Scott). According to papyri one common application of entimos is to military veterans who were discharged “with honor” (see Moulton-Milligan). In the Septuagint of God's "honored Name" (Dt 28:58), of David considering Saul's life precious (1 Sa 26:21), of nobles in Nehemiah (Neh 4:14; Neh. 4:19; Neh. 5:5; Neh. 5:7; Neh. 6:17; Neh. 7:5), of lives those God rescues "their blood will be precious." (Ps 72:14).

Vincent on entimos adds "Lit., held in honor, value, thus prized, precious, dear (Luke 14:8; 1 Pet. 2:4; Phil. 2:29). It does not necessarily imply an affectionate relation between the master and the servant, though such may well have existed. It may mean only that he was a valuable servant. See on 1 Pet. 2:4. In this case Luke omits the mention of the disease, which is given by Matthew.

Entimos - 5x in 5v - Usage: high regard(1), highly regarded(1), more distinguished(1), precious(2).

Luke 7:2  And a centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die.

Luke 14:8  "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him,

Philippians 2:29  Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;

1 Peter 2:4  And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,

1 Peter 2:6  For this is contained in Scripture: "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

Entimos 19x in 19v in the Septuagint - Num. 22:15; Deut. 28:58; 1 Sam. 26:21; Neh. 2:16; Neh. 4:14; Neh. 4:19; Neh. 5:5; Neh. 5:7; Neh. 6:17; Neh. 7:5; Job 28:10; Job 34:19; Ps. 72:14; Isa. 3:5; Isa. 13:12; Isa. 16:14; Isa. 28:16; Isa. 43:4

POSB on the slave - In the society of that day, a slave was nothing, only a tool or a thing to be used as the owner wished. He had no rights whatsoever, not even the right to live. An owner could mistreat and kill a slave without having to give an account. But this soldier loved his slave. This reveals a deep concern and care for people. It would have been much less bother to dispose of the slave or to ignore him and just let him die, but not this soldier. He cared. Note how he personally looked after the slave, a person who meant nothing to the rest of society. But his arms and love were wide open to do all he could to help this person who was helpless. This alone, helping a person who meant nothing to society, was bound to affect Christ dramatically. (See also Mt 22:39, Jn 15:12, Ro 12:9, 1 Th 3:12, James 2:8)

Slave (1401)(doulos from deo = to bind) (Additional note on doulos) was an individual bound to another in servitude and conveys the idea of the slave's close, binding ties with his master, belonging to him, obligated to and desiring to do his will and in a permanent relation of servitude. The will of the doulos was consumed in the will of the master and thus the doulos was wholly surrendered to the master's will and devoted to him even to the disregard of his own personal interest. Slaves in the ancient world, though they may be highly skilled craftsmen or even physicians existed to serve their masters alone. They had no rights as persons, and their lives had little value to society. Cicero once apologized for having a twinge of regret when a slave of his suffered a painful death.

Luke's uses of doulos - Lk. 1:38; Lk. 1:48; Lk. 2:29; Lk. 7:2; Lk. 7:3; Lk. 7:8; Lk. 7:10; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 12:43; Lk. 12:45; Lk. 12:46; Lk. 12:47; Lk. 14:17; Lk. 14:21; Lk. 14:22; Lk. 14:23; Lk. 15:22; Lk. 17:7; Lk. 17:9; Lk. 17:10; Lk. 19:13; Lk. 19:15; Lk. 19:17; Lk. 19:22; Lk. 20:10; Lk. 20:11; Lk. 22:50; Acts 2:18; Acts 4:29; Acts 16:1

Was sick and about to die -  Mt 8:6 adds that he was "lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented." 

Sick (literally "having it badly")(2560)(kakos) is an adjective that means badly and is used in the idiom (kakso echein) literally have badly, which means to be ill or be sick. Uses of this idiom Mt 4.24 (were ill - echo + kakos), Mt 8:16; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31, etc. 

Thy Word Suffices Me
Sermon Notes
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

  • And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. Matthew 8:7
  • Say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. —Luke 7:7

THE centurion who cared for the religious welfare of the people, and built them a synagogue, had also a heart of compassion for the sick.

It is well when public generosity is sustained by domestic kindness.

This servant was his boy, and perhaps his slave; but he was dear to him. A good master makes a good servant.

It is well when all ranks are united in sympathy: captain and page are here united in affection.

The master showed his affection by seeking help. Heart and hand should go together. Let us not love in word only.

It is well that the followers of Jesus should be ready to help all sick folk; and that healing should be still associated with prayer to Jesus.

Mark the growing manifest faith of the centurion, and the growing manifestation of Jesus.

Centurion sends elders with request to "come and heal. " Jesus will come and heal.
Centurion comes himself asking for "a word. " Jesus gives the word, and the deed is done.

We see in this passage a miracle in the physical world, and are thereby taught what our Lord Jesus can do in the spiritual world.

Let us imitate the centurion in seeking to Jesus about others.We learn from the narrative:

I. THE PERFECT READINESS OF CHRIST.

1. He did not debate with the elders of the Jews, and show the weakness of their plea: "He was worthy" (Luke 7:4-5).
2. He cheerfully granted their request, although it was needless for him to come. "Then Jesus went with them" (Luke 7:6).
3. He did not raise a question about the change which the centurion proposed, although he was already on the road (Luke 7:6).
4. He did not suspect the good man's motive, as some might have done. He read his heart, and saw his true humility.
5. He did not demur to the comparison of himself to a petty officer. Our Lord is never captious; but takes our meaning.
6. He promptly accepted the prayer and the faith of the centurion, save the boon, and gave it as desired.

Our Lord's love to sinners, his forgetfulness of self, his willingness to please us, and his eagerness to fulfill his own mission, should encourage us in prayer to him for ourselves and others.

II. THE CONSCIOUS ABILITY Of CHRIST.

l. He is not puzzled with the case. It was singular for the servant to be at once paralyzed and tormented; but whatever the disease may be, the Lord says, "I will come and heal him. "

2. He is not put in doubt by the extreme danger of the servant. No, he will come to him, though he hears that he is stricken down. and is utterly prostrate.

3. He speaks of healing as a matter of course.His coming will ensure the cure: "come and heal."

4. He treats the method of procedure as of no consequence.

He will come or he will not come, but will "say in a word"; yet the result will be the same.

5. He wonders more at the centurion's faith than at the cure.

Omnipotent grace moves with majestic ease.
We are worried and fretted, but the Lord is not.
Let us thus be encouraged to hope.

III. THE ABIDING METHOD OF CHRIST.

He is accustomed to heal by his Word through faith; Signs and wonders are temporary, and answer a purpose for an occasion; but both faith and the Word of the Lord are matters for all time.

Our Lord did not in the case before us put in a personal appearance, but spoke, and it was done; and this he does in our own day.

1. This is coming back to the original form of working in creation.

It is apparently a greater miracle than working by visible presence; at any rate, the means are less seen.

2. This method suits true humility. We do not demand signs and wonders; the Word is enough for us (Luke 7:7).
3. This pleases great faith; for the Word is faith's chosen manifestation of God. It rejoices more in the Word than in all things visible (Ps. 119:162).
4. This is perfectly reasonable. Should not a word of command from God be enough? Mark the centurion's reasoning (Matt. 8:9).
5. This is sure to succeed. Who can resist the divine fiat? In our own case, all we need is a word from the, Lord.
6. This must be confidently relied on for others. Let us use the Word, and pray the Lord to make it his own word.

Henceforth, let us go forward in his name, relying upon his Word!

Insertions

Had the centurion's roof been heaven itself, it could not have been worthy to be come under of him whose word was almighty, and who was the Almighty Word of his Father. Such is Christ confessed to be by him that says, "only say the word." None but a divine power is unlimited: neither has faith any other bounds than God himself. There needs no footing to remove mountains, or devils, but a word. Do but say the word, O Savior, my sin shall be remitted, my soul shall be healed, my body shall be raised from dust, and both soul and body shall be glorified. —Bishop Hall

"I have been informed," says Hervey, "that when the Elector of Hanover was declared by the Parliament of Great Britain successor to the vacant throne, several persons of distinction waited upon his Highness, to make timely application for valuable preferments. Several requests of this nature were granted, and confirmed by a kind of promissory note. One gentleman solicited the Mastership of the Rolls. Being indulged in his desire, he was offered the same confirmation which had been vouchsafed to other successful petitioners; upon which he seemed to be overcome by grateful confusion and surprise, and begged that he might not put the royal donor to such unnecessary trouble, protesting that he looked upon His Highness's word as the best ratification of his suit. With this compliment the Elector was not a little pleased. 'This gentleman,' he said, 'treats me like a king; and, whoever is disappointed, he shall certainly be gratified.'"

Our Lord can cure either by coming or by speaking. Let us not dictate to him the way in which he shall bless us. If we were permitted a choice, we ought not to select that method which makes most show, but that in which there is least to be seen and heard, yet most to be admired. Comparatively, signs and wonders show less of him than his bare Word, which he has magnified above all his name. Marvels dazzle, but the Word enlightens. That faith which sees least, sees most, and that which has no eyes at all for the visible has a thousand eyes for the invisible. Lord, come in thy glory, and bless me, if such be thy will; but if thou wilt stay where thou art, and bless me only through thy will and Word, I will be as well content, and even more so if this method the more honors thee! —C. H. S.


POSB on The Centurion's Great Faith -
    1.      Jesus returned to Capernaum (Lk 7:1).
    2.      Great faith cares deeply for people (Lk 7:2).
    3.      Great faith feels unworthy in approaching Jesus Christ (Lk 7:3).
    4.      Great faith seeks the power of God in Jesus Christ (Lk 7:4–5).
    5.      Great faith is centered in two sources (Lk 7:6–8).
    6.      Great faith stirs the matchless power of Jesus Christ (Lk 7:9–10).


Steven Cole - If I were considering a man for a staff position at the church and he presented a letter of commendation from a respected Christian leader, it would be a strong point in his favor. But if the Lord Jesus Himself commended the man, I would do well to take note. He will be an effective servant of Christ and I can learn much from his faith.

Only twice in the gospels does Christ commend a person for great faith-the Syrophoenician woman (Matt. 15:28), and this centurion we meet in our text. Both are Gentiles; one is a woman, the other a man. It is as if the Lord is saying, “The way of faith is open to people of all nationalities, male or female.” The faith that pleases God is not an exclusive thing reserved for the religious crowd. Any and all can lay hold of God by faith.

This centurion is a model of effective Christian service. Though he was a man in authority over 100 soldiers, he became a servant to his own servant by calling Jesus to heal him. As such, he is a picture of serving the Lord Jesus by reaching out to those in need, who may be lowly and despised by others. He was the channel through which Christ’s power flowed to this dying boy.

Although the centurion was in the military, which is not known as a seedbed for piety, he had great faith. It is interesting that every centurion mentioned in the New Testament is presented in a favorable light. This man shows us that we can serve Christ in any “secular” job. The centurion lived in Capernaum, which Jesus later castigated for its lack of faith (Luke 10:15), but he was not affected by their unbelief. This shows us that we can be godly people in the midst of an evil, unbelieving world. Wherever you are and whatever you do, this centurion shows you how to be an effective servant of Christ. He possesses three qualifications that every servant of Jesus Christ must seek to develop in his or her life:   An effective servant of Christ needs an exalted view of Jesus, a lowly view of himself, and a caring view of others.  (Luke 7:1-10 An Effective Servant)


Norman Geisler -  Is there a mistake in the accounts concerning Jesus and the centurion?

PROBLEM: Matthew seems to present the centurion as the one who seeks the help of Jesus (Matt. 8:5); but, Luke seems to say that the centurion sent elders to see Jesus (Luke 7:3). Also, Matthew appears to say that the centurion himself comes to talk with Jesus. However, in Luke, the Bible says only the centurion’s representatives saw Jesus.

SOLUTION: Both Matthew and Luke are correct. In the 1st century, it was understood that when a representative was sent to speak for his master, it was as if the master was speaking himself. Even in our day this is still the case. When the Secretary of State meets individuals from other countries, he goes out in the name of the president of the United States. In other words, what he says, the president says. Therefore, Matthew states that a centurion came entreating Jesus about his sick slave, when in fact the centurion sent others on his behalf. So, when Matthew declares that the centurion was speaking, this was true, even though he was (as Luke indicated) speaking through his official representative. (When Critics Ask)

Rod Mattoon adds - When you compare Matthew's account of the healing of the centurion's servant with Luke's account of the same miracle, an apparent discrepancy quickly arrests the reader's attention. Matthew's account says the centurion himself came to Christ on behalf of his sick servant, but Luke's account says the centurion sent some "elders of the Jews" to speak with Christ about the sick servant and then later, sent some of his "friends" to Christ to tell Christ that He did not need to come to the centurion's house, but only needed to speak the word for the healing. The best solution to this problem of whether the centurion went himself to Christ or sent others to Him, is to remember that sometimes we speak of a person doing something when he actually did it through someone else. Scripture says Solomon built the Temple in 1 Kings 6:14, but we know that he did not actually build the Temple himself but ordered the Temple built and provided for the material and financial needs. Qualified craftsmen and builders built the Temple. Pilate is said to have scourged Jesus in Matthew 27:26, but it was Roman soldiers who did the actual scourging. They simply did it at Pilate's orders. And in our text, the centurion is said to have built the Jews a synagogue, when we know he did not actually build the building himself, but simply provided the finances to make it possible. Matthew's account of the miracle is simply an abbreviation of Luke's account and so it says that the centurion himself communicated with Christ. It is acceptable language which is commonly used even in our day.


James Smith - The Roman Officer and his Slave. "Who was dear (precious) to Him" (Luke 7:2).

Introduction. This is a charming incident in the life of our Lord. And it conveys an important lesson, especially as a study in contrast. This was most unusual conduct on the part of a master. It is not often that a master will put himself to inconvenience these days for a sick servant, and was most unusual in those distant days. Then, they got all they could out of the servant, and when of no further use, cast them off as a piece of orange peel. Then remember that the master was a proud Roman officer.

Note the trouble he took for this poor sick slave. He first sent a deputation of Jewish Elders (verse 3); he then sent some friends of his own (verse 6); and, finally, he was so concerned that he came himself (study Matthew 8:5-13). This last step was most certainly a wise thing for him to do. It certainly is good to get other people to go to God for us, but that is not sufficient unless we go to Him for ourselves.

WHY DID HE DO THIS?

1. Not from a mere sense of duty. For no one felt it to be their duty in those days. There was no public conscience on matters of this sort.
2. It was not out of fear for a Coroner's Inquest, for there were none then, so cheap was human life.
3. It was love that moved him.

NO DOUBT ABOUT HIS LOVE. Why is there no doubt that the Roman officer loved his servant?

1. The way he acted emphatically proved this.
2. But the way he referred to his servant spoke volumes about his love. The beauty of the original is hidden in the A.V. The elders asked the Lord to heal the Centurion's slave; but the friends of the Roman officer took a direct message, which by and bye he himself supported, calling the sick slave, "My child." He does not use the rough word which implies a bondslave, but a term of endearment. This is brought out in the various renderings. "My young man," is the Weymouth rendering; "My boy," is the R.V.; and "My child," is Bullinger's rendering. This is delightful. Love betrays itself not only in conduct, but also in words, yea, in tone also.

A MORE REMARKABLE FACT. But there is a more remarkable fact still, and that is that God has, and does, put Himself about for us. More, He did not send a deputation, but came Himself. And He came to be a man and die. There is no doubt at all about His love— His works and His words all proclaim this. And God's treatment of us in such a gracious manner is more remarkable. And for the following reasons:

I. This Servant was Deserving of such Attention. Whereas we are not. There is no doubt that the Centurion loved him because he was worthy of that love; yea, that he had merited that love. It is generally understood that he had, at the risk of his own life, saved the life of his master. No wonder then that he was loved, when his master owed life itself to his slave.
But what about ourselves? Have we done anything notable for God? Why, the very opposite. We are, by nature, "enemies of God by wicked works," as the Bible declares. Yet, though utterly undeserving, we are dear to Him.

II. He was his Master's own Slave, whereas we Belong to Another. For the Centurion to put himself about concerning this servant really was not so very wonderful when considered from our standpoint, for was he not caring for his own property. Things are different with us, for we are the slaves of another, the enemy of God. Yet,"though the slave of another, God loves us.

III. He was Dying, whereas we are Dead. That makes a tremendous difference. Whilst there's life, there's hope, we say; in our case we are lifeless, so far as spiritual life is concerned.

IV. He was Helpless, and so are We. And, as in his case, Another is, and has, interested Himself in us. See what He has already done on our behalf—sent His Son to die for us; bestowed the Holy Ghost to convict, woo, and win us; and given us a wonderful Book for our guidance and learning.

Is He Dear to You? You are dear to Him! It was the sickness of this servant that brought his master into contact with the Lord on His behalf. Surely you won't wait until sickness drives you to Him?

Luke 7:3  When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave.

CSB   When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to Him, requesting Him to come and save the life of his slave. 

KJV  And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

Parallel Passage - 

Matthew 8:5+ - And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him,

When he heard about Jesus - Jesus' reputation was clearly spreading even without Twitter! Carson has an interesting comment that "Conceivably it was the earlier healing of an official’s son (John 4:46-50+) that strengthened the centurion’s faith in this instance." Undoubtedly he had heard about this Man Jesus Who was able to cast out demons with just a word, giving the demons a command to come out (Lk 4:35+) which they promptly obeyed (Lk 4:36+). This in fact could explain the centurion's words in Luke 7:7 just "say the word, and my servant will be healed."

He sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave - This is an amazing statement that Jews (even leaders) would be willing to aid a Roman, for the Jews normally hated the Romans for occupying their nation! Clearly this centurion was different than many of his fellow Romans. The verb Luke uses for save is a derivative of sozo, the verb he uses in Luke 7:50 where Jesus told the woman "Your faith has saved (sozo)you; go in peace.”

MacArthur adds that "Matthew 8:5–13+ does not mention that the centurion appealed to Jesus through these intermediaries. It is a measure of the respect this man had in the community that Jewish elders would be willing to bring his cause to Jesus. He loved the Jewish nation and was somehow personally responsible for the building of the local synagogue (Mt 8:5+). He obviously was being drawn to Christ by God Himself (cf. Jn 6:44, 65). Like all men under conviction, he deeply sensed his own unworthiness (cf Peter's sense of being in the presence of Holiness - Lk 5:8+), and that is why he used intermediaries rather than speaking to Jesus personally (Lk 7:6, 7). (Ibid)

He sent (649)(apostellofrom apo = from, away from + stello = to withdraw from, avoid) means to send off, to send forth, to send out. To send out; to commission as a representative, an ambassador, an envoy. Note that the centurion requested help from others. He asked them to intercede for him. Note: he did not allow his sense of unworthiness and rejection to defeat him; neither was he too proud to ask for help, despite his superior position.

Elders(4245)(presbuteros the comparative form of présbus = an old man or an ambassador) referred to men who were older or more senior with no negative connotations but rather a sense of venerability. Presbuteros is transliterated into English as “presbyter” (a leader in one of the Jewish communities--especially a member of the Sanhedrin--or of the early Christian churches) and from which the word “priest” (from Late Latin presbyter) was derived. NET Note on Jewish elders - Why some Jewish elders are sent as emissaries is not entirely clear, but the centurion was probably respecting ethnic boundaries, which were important in ancient Greco-Roman and Jewish culture. The parallel account in Matt 8:5–13 does not mention the emissaries.

Asking (request) (2065)(erotao from éromai = ask, inquire) means to ask for, usually with implication of an underlying question. It means “to plead,” “implore,” or even “to beg.” The verb does not carry the note of an authoritative command but rather that of making an urgent appeal.  A T Robertson on erotao - common for asking a question as in the old Greek (Luke 22:68). But more frequently in the N. T. the verb has the idea of making a request as here. This is not a Hebraism or an Aramaism, but is a common meaning of the verb in the papyri (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 168). It is to be noted here that Luke represents the centurion himself as “asking” through the elders of the Jews (leading citizens). In Matt. 8:6 the verb is parakalōn (beseeching).

Save (1295)(diasozo from dia = through + sozo = to save) means literally to save through. To bring to safety through danger or sickness. To heal, as in transporting someone through an ordeal to safety on the other side. It is used in the sense of “to recover” (from an illness) in the Gospels (Matthew 14:36; Luke 7:3). In Acts, Luke employed diasōzō of Paul’s “safe passage” from Jerusalem to Felix the governor (Acts 23:24). In Acts 27:43-45 diasōzō describes the “safe arrival” on land of Paul’s shipwrecked captors and companions who “escaped” the clutches of the sea (Acts 27:43,44; 28:1,4). Of the sick, to bring safely through, to heal (Mt. 14:36; Luke 7:3; Sept.: Jer. 8:20).

Diasozo - 8x - bring...safely(1), bring...safely through(1), brought safely(2), brought safely through(1), cured(1), safely through(1), save the life(1), saved(1).  Matt. 14:36; Lk. 7:3; Acts 23:24; 27:43-44; 28:1,4; 1 Pet. 3:20

Diasozo - 51x in 48v in the Septuagint -Ge 19:19; 35:3; Nu 10:9; 21:29; Deut. 20:4; Jos. 6:26; 9:15; 10:20,28,30,37,39; 11:8; Jdg. 3:26,29; 12:4-5; 21:17; 1 Sam. 19:10,17-18; 20:29; 22:1,20; 23:13; 2 Sam. 1:3; 2 Ki. 10:24; 19:30; Ezr. 9:14-15; Job 21:10,20; 22:30; 29:12; 36:12; Prov. 10:5; Eccl. 8:8; 9:15; Isa. 37:38; Jer. 8:20; Ezek. 17:15; Dan. 11:42; Hos. 13:10; Amos 2:15; 9:1; Jon. 1:6; Mic. 6:14; Zech. 8:13

Zech 8:13 (Prophecy of Israel's future salvation) ‘It will come about that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save (Hebrew = yasha; Lxx = diasozo) you that you may become a blessing. Do not fear; let your hands be strong.’ 

Gilbrant on diasozo in Septuagint- Diasōzō occurs over 51 times in the Septuagint where it corresponds to six Hebrew words and six additional forms of those words. Most commonly mālaṯ, “to get to safety,” and forms of pālaṯ, “to escape, to be delivered, to be spared,” occur. Lot did not feel he could “escape” the disaster the Lord was about to bring upon Sodom and Gomorrah by fleeing to the mountains (see Ge 19:19). The Lord went with Israel to “deliver” her from her enemies (cf. Nu 10:9; Deut 20:4). Joshua, following the instructions of the Lord, allowed no “survivors” in his sweeping victory over the five kings (Joshua 10:20,28,30,37,39,40; 11:8). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Slave (1401) see above for doulos


Becoming a Go-To Person READ: Luke 7:1-10

When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. —Luke 7:3

Would you pray for my sister?" the burly worker asked awkwardly. I eyed him suspiciously. Months earlier, muggy August heat intensified emotions in the pre¬strike atmosphere of the assembly plant where I was working that summer. Managers drove production at a frenzied pace, and union members resisted. During breaks, we were coached by union officials on slowing down our output. My faith and idealism got me in the doghouse because I didn't think God would accept anything but my best effort. I naively tried to explain. My coworkers' response was harassment, and this burly worker asking for prayer had been the ringleader. An undesirable task? I got the assignment. Off-color jokes had me as the star. So now I greeted this prayer request with suspicion. "Why me?" His answer jarred me: "Because she's got cancer," he said gruffly, "and I need someone God will hear." The bitter rancor between us eased as I prayed for his sister.

Like the centurion in Luke 7, people in the storms of life don't waste time or mince words. They go directly to the people whose faith they've tagged as real. We need to be those people. Do our lives mark us as a go-to person in touch with God? ---RK (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We give to others what they need
No greater help and care
Than when we intercede for them
And bear them up in prayer.
—D. DeHaan

Even the hardest of souls might ask for help when someone they love is at risk.

Luke 7:4  When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, "He is worthy for You to grant this to him;

KJV And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:

When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him - The fact that these Jewish elders responded affirmatively to the Gentile soldier's request demonstrates the clear evidence of their appreciation and respect for him, for otherwise they would never have agreed to take a Gentile's request for help to a Jewish man! And not only did they go, but they plead earnestly, with zeal, with eagerness! The verb Implored is imperfect tense active voice signifying they began and kept on beseeching. This is the same verb used by Matthew in 8:5+.  These Jewish elders were more than mere "transmitters" of the centurion's request, for they themselves were actually "interceding" (so to speak) for this Gentile man, so great was their respect! 

Came(3854)(paraginomai from para = beside + ginomai = to come to exist) means literally to become near and hence to come on the scene 

Jesus (2424)(Iesous) is transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Jehoshua (Yehoshua) or Jeshua(Yeshua) which mean Jehovah is help or Jehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Greek Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua (Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua(Yeshua).

Earnestly (at once)(4709)(spoudaios, cf spoudazo) means with hast, in a serious manner, with special urgency (Php 2:28), zealously (2 Ti 1:17, Titus 3:13), eagerly, promptly. With diligence. In the present context eagerly, earnestly, zealously, for time was short, as he was about to die. Spoudaios - 4x - Usage: all the more eagerly(1), diligently(1), eagerly(1), earnestly(1), more eagerly(1). No use in the Septuagint. Lk. 7:4; Phil. 2:28; 2 Tim. 1:17; Titus 3:13

Implored (3870)(parakaleo from para = side of, alongside, beside + kaleo = call) means literally to call one alongside, to call someone to oneself, to call for, to summon. Parakaleo can include the idea of giving help or aid but the primary sense in the NT is to urge someone to take some action, especially some ethical course of action and always at the root there is the idea of enabling a person to meet some difficult situation with confidence.

Saying, "He is worthy for You to grant this to him - “Worthy is he to have you do this”; the term worthy comes first in the direct discourse and is emphatic." (NET) The Jewish elders explained to Jesus this was a good man who was worthy to be helped. This was the view of his friends, but not the view of the centurion himself (Lk 7:6+). POSB explains that "The centurion felt unworthy to approach Jesus himself. Why? (1) He was a soldier, trained to take life and probably guilty of having taken life. What he had heard about Christ was the message of love and brotherhood. (2) He was a sinner, a terrible sinner, a Roman heathen, totally unworthy and rejected in the eyes of most. He felt that Jesus, too, would count him unworthy and reject him." 

D L Moody - THE Jews could not understand grace, so they thought Christ would grant the request of this man, because he was worthy. “Why,” they said, “he hath built us a synagogue!” It is the same old story that we hear to-day. Let a man give a few thousand dollars to build a church and he must have the best pew; “he is worthy.” Perhaps he made his money by selling or making strong drink; but he has put the church under an obligation by this gift of money, and he is considered “worthy.” This same spirit was at work in the days of Christ.

Worthy (514) (áxios from ágō = to weigh) strictly speaking means bringing up the other beam of the scales. Having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much. Counterbalancing - weighing as much (of like value, worth as much). NET Note

Luke 7:5  for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue."

KJV  For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

For (gar) is a strategic term of explanation (always pause to ponder and query this explanatory conjunction). This gives the reason the Jewish elders considered him worthy.  He was not a proselyte to Judaism, but was a Roman who had shown his love for the Jews. This Roman centurion reminds us of a well-known movie "An Officer and a Gentleman," for he was both! 

He loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue - This centurion is a powerful example to all us Gentile believers, that we too show sincere love to the nation of Israel (no, they are not a perfect nation), as it might just open a door for us to testify of our (their) Messiah! Do you love Israel? If you do not, then you need to ask God to give you a genuine love for His Chosen People, not because they are perfect (modern day Israel is far from perfect and is mainly secular), but they are still the "apple of His eye" and as Zechariah wrote "For thus says the LORD of hosts, “After glory He has sent me (MOST LIKELY THE MESSIAH) against the nations which plunder you (ISRAEL), for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye." (Zech 2:8, cf the blessing in Ge 12:3). Anti-Semitism has no place in the heart of one who is called a son or daughter of God! 

In modern times “Righteous Gentiles” have been honored by trees planted along the road to Israel’s Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial, because they risked their own death to save Jewish lives.

The centurion did not just allow the synagogue to be built - ESV - "he is the one who built us our synagogue." God's Word paraphrase has "built our synagogue at his own expense." Barclay translated it 'and has himself built us our synagogue." As J C Ryle says "The English version here can hardly be said to give the full sense of the Greek. The meaning is, “He hath himself built us a synagogue;” that is, at his own expense and charges." The NET Note adds "In the Greek text, the pronoun autos is included, making this emphatic. Naturally the force of this statement is causative, meaning the centurion either had the synagogue built or donated the cost of its construction."

IVP Background Commentary - Non-Jews who feared God and donated substantial sums to the Jewish community were well respected. Centurions’ salaries were much higher than those of their troops, but for this centurion to have built the local synagogue represented a great financial sacrifice. The main point lies in the contrasting views of worthiness (Lk 7:4, 6).

As Culyer said "Marble and granite are perishable monuments, and their inscriptions may be seldom read. Carve your names on human hearts; they alone are immortal!"

Related Resources:

Loves (25)(agapao) means to have affection for someone and speaks especially of love based on evaluation and choice and thus is a matter of will and action.

Nation (1484)(ethnos) in this context means nation or people (Mt 24:14; Lk 12:30; Ac 8:9; 10:22; 13:19.) NET Note - The use of ethnos ("nation") here instead of "God" probably meant the man was not a full proselyte, but that he had simply been supportive of the Jews and their culture. He could have been a God-fearer. The Romans saw a stable religious community as politically helpful and often supported it 

Built(3618)(oikodomeo  from oikos = dwelling + doma = building from demo = to build) means literally to build, construct or erect a dwelling. (Mt 7:24, 26; 23:29; Mk 12:1; Lk 6:48; 12:18)

Synagogue (4864)(sunagoge from sunágo = lead together, assemble or bring together) refers to a group of people “going with one another” (sunago) literally describes a bringing together or congregating in one place. Eventually, sunagoge came to mean the place where they congregated together. The word was used to designate the buildings other than the central Jewish temple where the Jews congregated for worship. Historically, the Synagogues originated in the Babylonian captivity after the 586 BC destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar and served as places of worship and instruction. 

Related Resources:

Luke 7:6  Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof;

KJV  Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:

THE AMAZING HUMILITY
OF THE CENTURION

Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further-  The purpose of the second delegation was to tell Jesus He did not need to come to his home. As Lenski explains "This would not do; Jesus must not come into this Levitically unclean house. It was improper for any Jew to go under the roof of a Gentile and most certainly for a great and holy Jew like Jesus." (ISLB) While some commentaries take the centurion's use of Lord (kurios) as something like "Sir" or "Rabbi," in the context of Jesus' assessment of his great faith, it is very reasonable to interpret the centurion's designation of Jesus as Lord in the sense of being the "divine Lord" and not merely "Sir" or "Rabbi." 

For I am not worthy (hikanos) for You to come under my roof -  "This non-commissioned officer knows he needs help, he knows Jesus can give it, and he comes with nothing but a humble heart." (Holwick) Note that"Luke again represents the centurion himself  as doing the speaking, which fully justifies Matthew’s account which omits mention of the friends." (Lenski) The centurion's statement I am not worthy is an amazing expression of his humility especially in light of the Jewish elders assessment that "He is worthy (axios)for You to grant this to him." NIV has "I do not deserve to have you come under my roof." BBE has "for I am not important enough for you to come into my house." More literally it could be read "I am not fit (which is the meaning of hikanos)". This recalls the line below from Joseph Hart's "Come Ye Sinners" which speaks of our "fitness" for Jesus to come to our house -- truth be told ,NONE of us are "worthy" for Him to come! And so our words echo those of the centurion "Lord I am not worthy!" And yet just as Jesus healed the centurion's servant with a WORD, He has healed our "sin sick" souls with His Gospel WORD! This truth should cause us all to fall on on our faces before Jesus with hearts filled with overwhelming gratitude for healing us! Thank YOU LORD JESUS!!! 

    Let not conscience make you linger,
    Nor of fitness fondly dream;
    All the fitness he requireth
    Is to feel your need of him.
    This he gives you, this he gives you;
    ’Tis the Spirit’s glimmering beam.

Augustine commented that "By saying that he was unworthy, he showed himself worthy of Christ's entering, not within his walls, but within his heart." It is clear that the centurion's heart was tender toward the Lord. He was unlike so many today who feel they deserve to go to Heaven. Beloved, we don't deserve Heaven, but we do deserve Hell, for the wages of our continual sin against God is eternal death (cf Ro 6:23+). No one is good enough or righteous enough to get to Heaven on their own merit, for as Paul writes "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE." (Ro 3:10+) Isaiah said "all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isa 64:6) 

The centurion reminds us of Peter's humility "But when Simon Peter saw that (THE MIRACULOUS CATCH OF FISH - Lk 5:7), he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8+)

“God sends none away empty
but those who are full of themselves!”

Compare Mt 8:8+ "But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed."

Lord(master, owner)(2962)(kurios from kuros= might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign (used this way of Roman emperors - Act 25:26) and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power. Kurios is used of the one to whom a person or thing belonged, over which he has the power of deciding, the one who is the master or disposer of a thing (Mk 7:28)

Trouble(4660)(skullo) literally meant to skin, flay, lacerate, mangle. In the NT it is used metaphorically, meaning to harass, trouble, weary,means to cause oneself to be or become inconvenienced or discomforted. Skullo - 4x in 4v -  distressed(1), trouble(3). Not used in the Septuagint.

Matthew 9:36  Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

Mark 5:35  While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?"

Luke 7:6  Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof;

Luke 8:49  While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore."

Worthy (same word in Mt 8:8)(2425) (hikanos from the root hik- = “to reach [with the hand],” “to attain”, `reaching to', `attaining to'; hence, `adequate') refers to that which reaches or arrives at a certain standard and in context refers to men who meet the standard and are fit, qualified and able to "teach" (didasko). Hikanos means worthy or sufficient for an honor, a place or a position.

MacArthur on under my roof - Jewish tradition held that a person who entered a Gentile’s house was ceremonially defiled (cf. Jn 18:28). The centurion, undoubtedly familiar with this law, felt unworthy of having Jesus suffer such an inconvenience for his sake. He also had faith enough to know that Christ could heal by merely speaking a word (The centurion understood Jesus' absolute authority).

IVP Background Commentary - The centurion was not a full convert to Judaism and thus retained some of his uncleanness as a Gentile, especially in regard to the food in his home. To invite a Jewish teacher into such a home would have been offensive under normal circumstances, but in this case the community’s elders want to make an exception (Lk 7:3). 


Steven Cole on the Centurion's humility - On one occasion the well-known preacher, Harry Ironside, felt that he was not humble enough. So he asked an older friend what he could do about it. The friend replied, “Make a sandwich board with the plan of salvation in Scripture on it and wear it as you walk through downtown Chicago for a day.” Ironside followed his friend’s advice. It was a humiliating experience. As he returned home and took off the sandwich board, he caught himself thinking, “There’s not another person in Chicago who would be willing to do a thing like that!”

How do we grow in humility? True humility stems from seeing my insufficiency and Christ’s all-sufficiency. The centurion’s servant was about to die (Lk 7:2). He was helpless to deal with this irreversible illness and imminent death. What a picture of the human race, impotent to deal with the ravages of sin and its ultimate result, spiritual death! The centurion saw his own insufficiency to deal with the problem, but he also saw Christ’s all-sufficiency. So he said to Jesus, “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7). False humility says, “I can do nothing” and stops there. True humility adds, “But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13) and cries out to Him to work. It’s a lesson we keep learning all our lives. I often experience it in preparing messages. I come to a point where I cannot get the flow of the passage. The message isn’t gelling. And I’m under time constraints! I don’t have time for it not to come together! Then I realize afresh that I can’t put sermons together. I can’t adequately communicate God’s truth. Only He can. And so I call to Him out of my weakness, and He answers.

One of my spiritual heroes is George Muller, who trusted God to support over 2,000 orphans in Bristol, England, in the last century. His biographer observes, “Nothing is more marked in George Muller, to the very day of his death, than this, that he so looked to God and leaned on God that he felt himself to be nothing, and God everything” (A. T. Pierson, George Muller p. 112). That’s the proper focus of a servant of Christ....

 The Lord is looking for servants like this centurion:

  • *Who have an exalted view of Christ-He is the sovereign Lord of authority, and thus they trust Him for the impossible.
  • *Who have a lowly view of themselves-they are unworthy and insufficient, but they know Christ as gracious and all-sufficient.
  • *Who have a caring view of others-they are helpless, and thus need compassion. Christ’s authority and grace extend to those whom society may despise.

Hudson Taylor, the great pioneer missionary to China, used to say, “All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them.” May that same powerful God do great things through us as we trust Him in our weakness! (Luke 7:1-10 An Effective Servant)


The Apostle Paul was a perfect example of a man who grew in humility as he grew spiritually...He the more he became like Christ, the more humble he became!

Paul's Progress in Humility:
Christ Increasing - Self Decreasing

Approximate datePaul's Self Assessment
55 AD1Cor 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
61 ADEph 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints (literally = "less than the least of all saints"), this grace was given (Why was it given? What was Paul to do?), to preach (= The purpose of God's gift of grace) to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
63-66 AD1Ti 1:15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am (Note: not "was" but "am" foremost!) foremost of all.

William Barclay - THE central character is a Roman centurion; and he was no ordinary man.

(i) The mere fact that he was a centurion meant he was no ordinary man.

A centurion was the equivalent of a regimental sergeant-major; and the centurions were the backbone of the Roman army. Wherever they are spoken of in the New Testament they are spoken of well (cp. Luke 23:47; Acts 10:22; 22:26; 23:17, 23, 24; 24:23; 27:43). Polybius, the historian, describes their qualifications. They must be not so much “seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable; they ought not to be over anxious to rush into the fight; but when hard pressed they must be ready to hold their ground and die at their posts.” The centurion must have been a man amongst men or he would never have held the post which was his.

(ii) He had a completely unusual attitude to his slave.

He loved this slave and would go to any trouble to save him. In Roman law a slave was defined as a living tool; he had no rights; a master could ill-treat him and even kill him if he chose. A Roman writer on estate management recommends the farmer to examine his implements every year and to throw out those which are old and broken, and to do the same with his slaves. Normally when a slave was past his work he was thrown out to die. The attitude of this centurion to his slave was quite unusual.

(iii) He was clearly a deeply religious man.

 man needs to be more than superficially interested before he will go the length of building a synagogue. It is true that the Romans encouraged religion from the cynical motive that it kept people in order. They regarded it as the opiate of the people. Augustus recommended the building of synagogues for that very reason. As Gibbon said in a famous sentence, “The various modes of religion which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.” But this centurion was no administrative cynic; he was a sincerely religious man.

(iv) He had an extremely unusual attitude to the Jews.

If the Jews despised the gentiles, the gentiles hated the Jews. Antisemitism is not a new thing. The Romans called the Jews a filthy race; they spoke of Judaism as a barbarous superstition; they spoke of the Jewish hatred of mankind; they accused the Jews of worshipping an ass’s head and annually sacrificing a gentile stranger to their God. True, many of the gentiles, weary of the many gods and loose morals of paganism, had accepted the Jewish doctrine of the one God and the austere Jewish ethic. But the whole atmosphere of this story implies a close bond of friendship between this centurion and the Jews.

(v) He was a humble man.

He knew quite well that a strict Jew was forbidden by the law to enter the house of a gentile (Acts 10:28); just as he was forbidden to allow a gentile into his house or have any communication with him. He would not even come to Jesus himself. He persuaded his Jewish friends to approach him. This man who was accustomed to command had an amazing humility in the presence of true greatness.

(vi) He was a man of faith.

His faith is based on the soundest argument. He argued from the here and now to the there and then. He argued from his own experience to God. If his authority produced the results it did, how much more must that of Jesus? He came with that perfect confidence which looks up and says, “Lord, I know you can do this.” If only we had a faith like that, for us too the miracle would happen and life become new.  (Luke 7)


I Am Not Worthy       Luke 7:6

The centurion of Capernaum appears upon the page of the holy Gospel as an example of great faith. Although he did not belong to the people of the Lord, he obtained the Messiah’s witness, which expressed surprise, yes, even admiration: “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” What besides many other features in him appeals to us, is his heart touching humility, which is always the mark of grace. This humbleness appeared already when he sent the elders of the Jews to Jesus, to ask Him to come and cure his dying servant, just like amongst us only the humble of heart feel the need for the intercession of others, whom they esteem more excellent than themselves. Added to this was that he, once Jesus was not far from his house, sent for the second time some friends to say unto him: “Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof!” The elders of the Jews had declared with a remembrance of the love of the centurion for the people of the Lord: “That he was worthy for whom he should do this,” but he declared himself to be unworthy to receive the Messiah under his roof: “Lord, trouble not thyself!”

A great faith reveals itself always in a great humility, in a sense of our own unworthiness, in a awareness of the infinite distance that exists between the Lord’s majesty and the heart of a sinful man. This does not mean that the conviction of our own insignificance must keep us far removed from Christ; but even if we seek with our whole soul and with all our strength His blessing, it shall always take place in the notion that all grace has been forfeited and all mercy has been absolutely unmerited; it shall always take place with the unuttered or expressed thought: “Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof!”

Do we sense that distance between this I and this Thou?

I, a sinful son of man,—and Thou, the Holiness of God.
I, a frail mortal being,—and Thou, the Eternal One.
I without glory,—and Thou clothed with majesty and with honour!

It shall be well with us, if behind our back the elders of the Jews may confess in truth before God that we love His people and help to build His Kingdom, but if we whisper while begging the Lord’s mercy: “Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof!” To such small ones the Lord reaches His hand, into such humble ones He enters, and upon such meek ones He bestows His blessing. He enters under their roof, into their house, at their table, yes, even into their heart! (The Loins Girded)

Luke 7:7  for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

KJV  Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

THE CONCRETE CONFIDENCE OF 
THE CENTURION IN CHRIST'S POWER

For this reason - What reason? What is he explaining? He is explaining why he sent friends to Jesus instead of personally going himself. 

I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed - This centurion's faith is as they say "off the charts!" As Cole says "The centurion had an exalted view of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His authority over this hopeless disease: “... just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Lk 7:7). The centurion understood the principle of authority. He knew what it meant to speak and to have his words obeyed. But he knew that his servant’s desperate condition was beyond the realm of his authority. He needed to go to the One in authority over all creation. He recognizes Jesus to be that One. He even knew that Jesus did not need to come and physically lay hands on his servant. The Lord of Creation, who spoke the universe into existence, simply had to speak the word and his servant would be healed. That is an exalted view of Jesus Christ!"  (Luke 7:1-10 An Effective Servant)

THOUGHT - Even as Jesus healed by His Word in this story, every one of us have been healed by that same Word! Here Jesus heals with a word. With the widow's dead son He heals with a touch and a word. Note the progression on Luke 7 - healing a slave, raising a dead son (Lk 7:14-15), saving a sinner (Lk 7:50). 

Rod Mattoon - The officer had so much confidence or faith in Christ's power and ability that he told Jesus, "Just say the word and he will be healed. Just as I have authority to command others and they obey, you have authority to command and it will come to pass." This was the sentiment of the centurion. He had risen above the need of an outward sign, such as a touch or even the sound of a living voice. He needed no contact with the fringe of the Master's garment, asked for no handkerchief or an apron that had touched His person. The word the Master would speak would be enough. He totally delegated the problem and the need of his servant to the Lord Jesus and was confident that Christ would take care of the matter. Do you have that kind of confidence?

J C Ryle - The Portuguese Commentator, Barradius, has some striking remarks on this expression of the Centurion’s. He says, “This is a peculiar attribute of God’s, to be able to do all things by a word and a command. ‘He spake and they were made;’ ‘He commanded and they were created.’ (Psalm 148:5.) Read the book of Genesis. You will see the world created by the word of God: ‘God said, Let there be light, and there was light.’ ‘God said, Let there be a firmament,’ and a firmament was made,” &c. He then shows by a quotation from Augustine, how all the created beings in existence, whether kings, or angels, or seraphims, cannot create so much as an ant. But when God says, “Let the world be made,” as once, it is made by a word. And he concludes, “Well therefore does the Centurion say, ‘say in a word only, and my servant shall be healed.’ ”

Will be Healed (cure) (2390)(iaomai means to cure, to heal, to restore. Iaomai is used literally of deliverance from physical diseases and afflictions and so to make whole, restore to bodily health or heal. To cause someone to achieve health after having been sick. In the passive it means to be healed or cured. Figuratively, iaomai speaks of deliverance from sin and its evil consequences and thus to restore (to spiritual good health), make whole, renew (Mt 13.15). In the passive, iaomai figuratively means to be restored, to recover or to be healed as in 1Pe 2.24.

Servant(3816)(pais) means a child, boy, youth (see IVP note below). This is clearly an affectionate term for the slave (Lk 7:2) who was “dear” to him and who indeed may have been a child or teenager.

IVP Background Commentary - During their twenty or so years of service in the Roman army, soldiers were not permitted to marry. Many had illegal local concubines, an arrangement that the army overlooked and the concubines found profitable. But centurions, who could be moved around more frequently, would be less likely than ordinary soldiers to have such relationships; they often married only after retirement. By ancient definitions, however, a household could include servants, and household servants and masters sometimes grew very close—especially if they made up the entire family unit. 


Vance Havner - "As Thou Hast Believed"   Luke 7:1-17

OUR Lord, having healed elsewhere, returns to Capernaum and brings blessing at home as well as abroad (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10). A Roman centurion comes to Him on behalf of a sick servant. How we ought always to come to our Lord on behalf of others—and not only of the high and mighty but even of servants, the despised and lowly! This centurion had lived up to the light he had; he had befriended the Jews and built them a synagogue. Such men always find more light.

His humility is shown in that he thought himself unworthy to have the Lord under his roof. That spirit also always gets a blessing. He recognizes that just as he has men under his authority, so the Lord has authority over disease. Alas, we today do not believe He can and will work wonders; we see no authority beyond the purely natural. There is little recognition of the sovereignty of our Christ over every problem.

In the simple faith of this centurion our Lord saw a prophetic type of Gentiles being saved while the unbelieving Jews would be cast out (Matt. 8:10-12). How true that is in this present church-age is evident to us all.

Jesus commanded the centurion, "Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." It reminds us of His statement to the blind men: "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matt. 9:29). Our faith is the measure of our blessing. As we believe, we receive. How naturally follows the conclusion here: "And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." We blame many things for our meager, pale and tasteless lives today, but we simply do not believe His word enough to go our way. We must see before believing, whereas these believed and then went forth to see the wonder wrought.

Next day, our Lord entered Nain and met a widow's son being carried to burial. A procession of life met a procession of death. Many people, we read in the account (Luke 7:11-17), were in each procession. It is not recorded that the widow solicited aid, but the Lord saw her and had compassion. With the simple word "Arise" He raised the dead. Three raisings are recorded in the Gospels. One had just died, the daughter of Jairus; this young man was on the way to burial; and Lazarus had been dead four days. But the Lord raised all three, and, although the details differed, each could say, "Once I was dead, but now I live." Is it not so in conversion? Elijah and Elisha had raised the dead with great wrestlings, but here our Lord simply calls the dead to life.

Of course, after such an event the people would be in fear and glorify God, but most of the response, doubtless, was of that superficial sort that will not believe unless it sees signs and wonders. Often we think that if Jesus were among us today working such miracles, men would believe—but not so. Skeptics would offer their explanations, the magicians would produce their counterfeits, and sinful men would go on their way, loving darkness rather than light. More blessed are they who see not, yet believe and, believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!


J C RyleWe should notice in these verses the kindness of the centurion. It is a part of his character which appears in three ways.

  1. We see it in his treatment of his servant. He cares for him tenderly when sick, and takes pains to have him restored to health.
  2. We see it again in his feeling towards the Jewish people. He did not despise them as other Gentiles commonly did. The elders of the Jews bear this strong testimony, “He loveth our nation.”—
  3. We see it lastly in his liberal support of the Jewish place of worship at Capernaum. He did not love Israel “in word and tongue only, but in deed.” The messengers be sent to our Lord supported their petition by saying, “He hath built us a synagogue.”

Now where did the centurion learn this kindness? How can we account for one who was a heathen by birth, and a soldier by profession, showing such a spirit as this? Habits of mind like these were not likely to be gathered from heathen teaching, or promoted by the society of a Roman camp. Greek and Latin philosophy would not recommend them. Tribunes, consuls, prefects and emperors would not encourage them.—There is but one account of the matter. The centurion was what he was “by the grace of God.” The Spirit had opened the eyes of his understanding, and put a new heart within him. His knowledge of divine things no doubt was very dim. His religious views were probably built on a very imperfect acquaintance with the Old Testament Scriptures. But whatever light from above he had, it influenced his life, and one result of it was the kindness which is recorded in this passage.

Let us learn a lesson from the centurion’s example. Let us, like him, show kindness to everyone with whom we have to do. Let us strive to have an eye ready to see, and a hand ready to help, and a heart ready to feel, and a will ready to do good to all. Let us be ready to weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice. This is one way to recommend our religion, and make it beautiful before men. Kindness is a grace that all can understand.—This is one way to be like our blessed Saviour. If there is one feature in His character more notable than another, it is His unwearied kindness and love.—This is one way to be happy in the world, and see good days. Kindness always brings its own reward. The kind person will seldom be without friends.

We should notice, secondly, in this passage, the humility of the centurion.

It appears in his remarkable message to our Lord when He was not far from his house: “I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:—neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee.”—Such expressions are a striking contrast to the language used by the elders of the Jews. “He is worthy,” said they, “for whom thou shouldest do this.”—“I am not worthy,” says the good centurion, “that thou shouldest enter under my roof.”

Humility like this is one of the strongest evidences of the indwelling of the Spirit of God. We know nothing of it by nature, for we are all born proud. To convince us of sin, to show us our own vileness and corruption, to put us in our right place, to make us lowly and self-abased,—these are among the principal works which the Holy Ghost works in the soul of man. Few of our Lord’s sayings are so often repeated as the one which closes the parable of the Pharisee and Publican: “Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14.) To have great gifts, and do great works for God, is not given to all believers. But all believers ought to strive to be clothed with humility.

We should notice, thirdly, in this passage, the centurion’s faith.

We have a beautiful example of it in the request that he made to our Lord: “Say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.” He thinks it needless for our Lord to come to the place where his servant lay dying. He regards our Lord as one possessing authority over diseases, as complete as his own authority over his soldiers, or a Roman Emperor’s authority over himself He believes that a word of command from Jesus is sufficient to send sickness away. He asks to see no sign or wonder. He declares his confidence that Jesus is an almighty Master and King, and that diseases, like obedient servants, will at once depart at His orders.

Faith like this was indeed rare when the Lord Jesus was upon earth. “Show us a sign from heaven,” was the demand of the sneering Pharisees. To see something wonderful was the great desire of the multitudes who crowded after our Lord. No wonder that we read the remarkable words, “Jesus marvelled at him,” and said unto the people, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” None ought to have been so believing as the children of those who were led through the wilderness, and brought into the promised land. But the last was first and the first last. The faith of a Roman soldier proved stronger than that of the Jews.

Let us not forget to walk in the steps of this blessed spirit of faith which the centurion here exhibited. Our eyes do not yet behold the book of life. We see not our Saviour pleading for us at God’s right hand. But have we the word of Christ’s promises? Then let us rest on it and fear nothing. Let us not doubt that every word that Christ has spoken shall be made good. The word of Christ is a sure foundation. He that leans upon it shall never be confounded. Believers shall all be found pardoned, justified, and glorified at the last day. “Jesus says so,” and therefore it shall be done.

We should notice, finally, in these verses, the advantage of being connected with godly families. We need no clearer proof of this than the case of the centurion’s servant. We see him cared for in sickness. We see him restored to health through his master’s intercession. We see him brought under Christ’s notice through his master’s faith. Who can tell but the issue of the whole history, was the conversion and salvation of the man’s soul? It was a happy day for that servant, when he first took service in such a household?

Well would it be for the Church, if the benefits of connection with the “household of faith,” were more frequently remembered by professing Christians. Often, far too often, a Christian parent will hastily place his son in a position where his soul can get no good, for the sake of mere worldly advantage. Often, far too often, a Christian servant will seek a new place where religion is not valued, for the sake of a little more wages. These things ought not so to be. In all our moves, our first thought should be the interest of our souls. In all our settlements, our chief desire should be to be connected with godly people. In all our scheming and planning, for ourselves or our children, one question should ever be uppermost in our minds: “What shall it profit to gain the whole world, and lose our own souls?” Good situations, as they are called, are often godless situations, and ruin to all eternity those who take them.

Luke 7:8  "For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it."

KJV For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

THE CENTURION
UNDERSTOOD AUTHORITY

For (gar) - Term of explanation - This indicates the reason the centurion knew that Jesus could heal by simply uttering a command. What he says is this "I know that you need only to give a command to heal my servant, because I know what the command of one in authority can do."

I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it - Notice the phrase man under authority which speaks of the centurion's humility and willingness to submit to greater authority, which makes him a perfect candidate in this scenario, for now he humbly submits to the One Who has the greatest authority in the Universe!  The verbs in red are commands. His commandswere immediately obeyed. The centurion's reasoning is in a sense from the lesser to the greater, so that if he as a lesser official could authoritatively give orders that were promptly obeyed, certainly Christ the possessor of greater authority could do the same. Perhaps the centurion had either personally heard or heard about Jesus giving commands to demons who obeyed without hesitation. In any event, he obviously recognized the greater authority of Jesus or he would never have ask Him to heal his servant.  In a word, the centurion understood AUTHORITY and clearly recognized that Jesus was a Man with authority. Recall that the centurion was a commander of a hundred soldiers, and so understood what it was both give commands and to have those commands obeyed.

Authority (1849)(exousia from éxesti = it is permitted, it is lawful) means the power to do something and was a technical term used in the law courts, of a legal right. "Authority or right is the dominant meaning (of exousia) in the New Testament." (Vincent) Exousía refers to delegated authority and combines the idea of the "right and the might", these attributes having been granted to someone. Exousia is an important term in the Gospels for many conflicts in Jesus' life and ministry turn on debates about authority or the idea that Jesus taught with an unparalleled authority (Mt 7:29; 8:9; 9:6, 8; 21:23-27; 28:18; Mk 1:22, 27; 2:10; 3:15; 11:28-33; Lk 4:32, 36; 5:24; 7:8; 20:2-8).

Vincent on placed under authority - It is not easy to render the exact force of these words. The sense of the present participle with the verb εἰμί, I am, is very subtle. The words set under are commonly understood to mean placed in a subordinate position; but this would be more accurately expressed by the perfect participle, τεταγμένος. The present participle indicates something operating daily, and the centurion is describing not his appointed position so much as his daily course of life. The word set originally means arranged, drawn up in order; so that the words might be paraphrased thus: “I am a man whose daily course of life and duty is appointed and arranged by superior authority.” The centurion speaks in a figure which is well explained by Alford: “I know how to obey, being myself under authority; and I know how others obey, having soldiers under me. If then I, in my subordinate station of command, am obeyed, how much more thou, who art over all, and whom diseases serve as their Master.” Just what estimate of Jesus these words imply we cannot say. It seems evident, at least, that the centurion regarded him as more than man. If that be so, it is a question whether the word man (ἀνθρωπός) may not imply more than is commonly assigned to it. Taking the Greek words in their order they may read, “For I also, a man (as compared with thee), am set under authority, having soldiers under myself. See on Mt. 8:9.


Before the Face of God - (excerpt) - Luke focuses on the faith of the centurion, not on the miracle of healing. Matthew tells us more about this story (Matt. 8:5–13), but Luke says only that “when Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel’” (v. 9).The faith Jesus praised was characterized by humility. Many of the Jews recognized Jesus’ great abilities as healer and teacher, but the centurion recognized Jesus’ authority. As the centurion said, “I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I symbolize the might and power of Rome to the office I bear as centurion. I know what it is like to take orders and to give orders. In the same way, Jesus, I know that the authority of heaven and earth are at your disposal. If it is your will it certainly will come to pass” (v. 8). In the same manner, true faith humbly submits to the authority of the King.


Gene Brooks - APPLICATION: Do you want SpiritualAuthority? Then cultivate in your life the virtue of humility. Paul tells us in Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” But humility is not weakness. It is strength. There is a boldness in humility. Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 22:4: “By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life.” Proverbs 15:33: “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.” Pride is the source of most all other failures of sin in your life. By asking the Holy Spirit to replace personal pride with humility, you will gain spiritual authority and Christ-likeness. (Ed: Also James 4:6+ But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSEDTO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”) (Luke Sermon)

Luke 7:9  Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith."

NET   When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him. He turned and said to the crowd that followed him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith!" 

KJV When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

A GENTILE'S FAITH CONTRASTS
WITH JEWISH UNBELIEF

In this passage we see not only extraordinary praise for a Gentile, but also an indictment at the unbelief of Israel.

Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith - Great faith made Jesus marvel!  Jesus...turned is "a vivid touch not in Matthew’s account (Mt 8:10). The phrase I say to you is added to make sure the Jewish audience heard His message (including the Jewish friends of the centurion - Lk 7:6)! He did not want the Jews to miss the full impact of His commendation of a centurion's faith. This recalls to mind the words of Paul in Romans 11 "But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them." (Ro 11:13-14+) Perhaps some the Jews would be moved to jealousy by the great faith of this Gentile! It is worth noting that Jesus was not marveling not at the man’s building a synagogue fro the Jews, but at his great faith!

Who are those who were following? This crowd had to include His disciples, but also probably some of the "brood of vipers," who were now "hot on His trail" and would not give up their hunt until they killed Him! Following is akoloutheo the word often used to describe "followers" or disciples, in this case a mixed group and not just the 12 disciples (cf " large crowds followed Him." = Mt 8:1). However, there is no doubt that Jesus as the Master Teacher was using the Roman centurion as a teaching point to His disciples ("learners")! Not even (oude) speaks of an absolute, objective negation. Jesus' point is that in Israel, that is, among the ethnic Jews who even had access to the OT prophecies concerning the Messiah, Jesus could find no Jew with faith like this centurion. The special privileges of the Jews sadly did not result in a greater percent believing in Jesus. Hendriksen adds that "To be sure, also in Israel Jesus had found faith (Luke 5:5, 8–11; 6:20–23, 47, 48), but not a combination in one person of a love so affectionate, a considerateness so thoughtful, an insight so penetrating, a humility so outstanding, and a trust so unlimited. In many cases was not what Jesus had found “little faith”?"  

NET Note on he was amazed at him - Or “pleased with him and amazed.” The expanded translation brings out both Jesus’ sense of wonder at the deep insight of the soldier and the pleasure he had that he could present the man as an example of faith. There are two elements to the faith that Jesus commended: The man’s humility and his sense of Jesus’ authority which recognized that only Jesus’ word, not his physical presence, were required.

As Mattoon says "The centurion acknowledged the authority and power of Christ by acknowledging that the Lord need not be present to heal his servant. This was amazing faith because this man did not grow up with the Old Testament scriptures, yet, he had learned the need to depend totally on Jesus' power. He knew, without a doubt, that Jesus could do what seemed impossible. Such faith both astonished and pleased the Lord Jesus. In marveling at his faith, Jesus intimated that we ought to admire great faith, too. He admired it for our benefit, that we might imitate the centurion's faith. Let me ask, "Does your faith and confidence in the Lord amaze Him? Is your faith great or small? How confident are you in the Lord's ability to meet your needs and solve the problems in your life?" Beloved, God wants us to learn to rely upon Him just as this Roman soldier. Realize that every crisis you face is an opportunity to trust in God. Storms may rage in your life like the temper tantrums of a tempestuous sea. Christ, however, has the power and ability to calm your storm, or to help you sail through it. (cf Heb 11:6, Heb 3:12)."

Ryle on amazed -   There are two occasions where it is recorded that our Lord Jesus Christ “marveled,” once in this history, and once in Mark 6:6. It is remarkable that in one case He is described as marveling at “faith,” and in the other as marveling at “unbelief.” Bishop Hall, and Burkitt after him, both observe, “What can be more wonderful than to see Christ wonder?”  The expression is one of those which show the reality of our Lord’s human nature. He was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted. As man He grew in wisdom and stature. As man He hungered, thirsted, was weary, ate drank, slept, wept, sorrowed, rejoiced, groaned, agonized, bled, suffered and died. And so also as man He wondered. Yet all this time He was very and eternal God, one with the Father, and the Saviour of the world. This is a great mystery, and one which we cannot fathom. The union of two natures in one Person, is a thing passing our weak comprehension. We must believe and admire, without attempting to define or explain.   In the case in Mark the marveling is evidently a marveling of sorrow. In the case before us it is a marveling of admiration. Burkitt remarks, “Let it teach us to place our admiration where Christ placed His. Let us be more affected with the least measure of grace in a good man, than with all the gaieties and glories of a great man.” Our Lord, be it remembered, did not marvel at the gorgeous and beautiful buildings of the Jewish temple. But he did marvel at faith.

See Luke 7 The Man Who Amazed Jesus - John MacArthur Q & A

Marveled (2296)(thaumazo from thauma [from thaomai = to wonder] = wonder, admiration) means to wonder, marvel, be struck with admiration or astonishment. Thaumazo describes the human response when confronted by divine revelation in some form (Mt 9.33). Be surprised (Gal 1:6). It denotes incredulous surprise. It is notable that only twice does Scripture record Jesus as marvelling at people and both instances are in the context of faith, here in Capernaum at the centurion's great faith and in Nazareth at the unbelief of the Jewish people in His own hometown(Mark 6:6)! How could Jesus be amazed if He was God? One writer suggests it is because of "His amazement was due to his self-imposed limitations upon his omniscience in his state of humility." 

Not even in Israel have I found such great faith - Notice the verb found implies that Jesus is looking for faith. "Faith caused the Lord to marvel. Only two times in the gospels is it said that Jesus marveled: Here, and in Mark 6:6, at the unbelief of the people of this same city, Capernaum. Nothing gladdens the Lord more than when a person has faith in Him and His authority. And nothing saddens the Lord more than unbelief." (Steven Cole Luke 7:1-10 An Effective Servant))

Only twice in the gospels does Christ commend a person for great faith-the Syrophoenician woman (Mt. 15:28), and this Roman centurion. Both are Gentiles; one is a woman, the other a man. It is as if the Lord is saying, “The way of faith is open to people of all nationalities, whether Jew or Gentile, male or female.” (cf Col 3:11+) The faith that pleases God is not an exclusive thing reserved for the religious crowd. Any and all can lay hold of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by grace through faith, " the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph 2:8-9+)

Steven Cole asks "Where did the centurion get this faith? Scripture teaches that faith is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8, 9); but also, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word concerning Christ” (Ro 10:17). God imparts faith through the hearing of the Word about who Jesus is. We read (Luke 7:3), the centurion “heard about Jesus.” It is only a speculation, but I think that this centurion may have heard about Christ from the nobleman in Capernaum whose son Jesus healed (John 4:46-54). Both men were in government service. Jesus healed the nobleman’s son at a distance, which would have encouraged the centurion to believe that Jesus could do the same with his servant. At any rate, he heard of Christ and he believed. If we want to be more effective servants of Christ, we need to ask God to show us through His Word a more exalted view of the Lord Jesus. And, we need to direct others into the Word and pray that God will open their eyes to the glory of the exalted Savior."  (Luke 7:1-10 An Effective Servant)

Found(2147)(heurisko) means to come upon, to happen to find, to find after seeking and searching and thus to discover something, in this case great faith in a most unlikely location, the heart of Roman centurion! The verb even pictures Jesus walking throughout the land of Israel for 3 years, seeking for those who had tender, open hearts that would believe in His Word and in His Person and upon finding such a one shouting something like "I say Eureka" for heurisko gives us this English word which is used to express triumph upon finding or discovering something. Indeed the primary purpose for the incarnation of Jesus is expressed in His own words "the Son of Man has come to SEEK and to SAVE that which was lost." (Lk 19:10+).

Faith (4102)(pistis) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. Uses of pistis in Matthew (relatively few compared to uses in the Pauline epistles) - Matt. 8:10; Matt. 9:2; Matt. 9:22; Matt. 9:29; Matt. 15:28; Matt. 17:20; Matt. 21:21; Matt. 23:23

Steve Zeisler said  "Faith is a willingness to bet your very life on the promises and character of God." 

R C H Lenski explains why Jesus said he had great faith - (1) The greatness of the centurion’s faith is evident in its humility. The man, although he is a high military officer and a great benefactor of the Jews, deems himself utterly unworthy. (2) In the second place this man’s faith centers in the word of Jesus, the very experience Jesus had so much difficulty in attaining among the Jews. On his own accord, merely from what this man had heard about Jesus, without further experience and teaching he shows absolute trust in Jesus’ word; compare the court officer mentioned in John 4:50 for an example of a man who slowly arrives at faith in Jesus’ word. A word is sufficient, Jesus does not need to come in person. (3) Thirdly, and as the basis of this humble confidence in the mere word, the centurion has a proper conception of the exalted person of Jesus. His word, spoken at a distance, works with omnipotence to save from death. It is an ill comment on Jesus’ estimate of the centurion’s faith to suggest that he had some pagan conception as to how the power of Jesus would work the healing, yet that this did not affect the nature and the value of his faith. Any pagan conception would vastly reduce, if it did not make void, this Gentile’s faith. The remarkable feature of the man’s faith was that it accorded so fully with the truest Israelite teaching and was wholly free from pagan conceptions.

Gene Brooks points out that this "story parallels in Elisha’s healing of the Syrian General Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-16) where Elisha is not present (2 Kings 5:10), and the healing results in the recognition of the power of the Lord and the prophet representing him (2 Kings 5:8, 15; Luke 7:16)."

Spurgeon wrote "Your faith will not murder your humility, your humility will not stab at your faith; but the two will go hand in hand to heaven like a brave brother and a fair sister, the one bold as a lion the other meek as a dove, the one rejoicing in Jesus the other blushing at self."


Concrete Confidence in Christ - Rod Mattoon - In WW 2, Sergeant Mitchell Paige of the United States Marines won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He single-handedly drove off platoon after platoon of Japanese soldiers on the island of Guadalcanal. Using the machine gun of killed or wounded Marines, Paige held the critical air-base 8for hours until reinforcements could arrive. He stood his ground like an immovable mountain anchored into the foundation of the earth. When help did arrive, he then fearlessly led a bayonet charge into the teeth of the Japanese stronghold. When the battle was finally over, when the breath of the wind cleared the thick veil of smoke, when the thunder of guns and war cries went silent, Sergeant Paige, with hands that were burned and charred from cradling hot machine-guns, rummaged through his pack to find the one thing, the ONE thing his mother said would strengthen and sustain him throughout the war. It was his pocket Gideon Bible. Opening his Bible up after that dramatic, drastic, distressful, dangerous, deadly day, its pages fell open to the very same verses his mother had imprinted upon his memory when she said farewell to him and sent him off to serve in the Marine Corps six years earlier. What were the verses she branded into his mind? What was it that she did not want her son to forget?

Pr 3:5-6.... Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

She wanted him to have concrete faith in God. Do you?


Faith Works

Read: Luke 7:1-10

According to your faith let it be to you. —Matthew 9:29

Not all Christians exercise the same degree of faith. Some people seem to think their problem is too big for God to solve. Others are sure that God is all-powerful, but they’re not confident that He will do what is best for them. Still others affirm, “I know what God can do, and I’ll trust Him to do what He has promised.” These various attitudes range from a weak and tentative faith to a firm confidence that takes God at His word and believes He is good.

As we study the ministry of Jesus, we see varying degrees of faith in those who came to Him. He cast out a mute spirit from a son whose father wavered between faith and doubt (Mk. 9:17-24). He healed a leper who knew He could but was not sure He would (Mk.1:40-45). And He healed the servant of a centurion who was so sure of the outcome that he asked Jesus merely to speak the word from afar (Lk. 7:1-10).

These examples don’t teach that God always answers according to the strength of our faith. Rather, in His wisdom He responds to any degree of faith. His ultimate goal is to lead us to trust Him completely, so that we may know the fullness of His fellowship. Because of who Jesus is, He can turn the weakest faith into strong faith.By Dennis J. DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O for the peace of a perfect trust,
My loving God, in You—
Unwavering faith that never doubts
The good You choose to do.
—Anon.

Our faith in God grows greater as we recognize the greatness of our God.


WHAT MAKES JESUS MARVEL?
When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him ... and said . . . I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  Luke 7:9

One morning many eyes were moist with tears during our Radio Bible Class devotional time. Four little boys who are cared for and trained in a Christian institution for retarded children were demonstrating that their mental handicap did not hinder them spiritually. They recited the books of the Bible and answered many questions about the Scriptures and Christian doctrine. We were thrilled and deeply stirred to see what had been done for these children by their dedicated teachers, but what moved me the most was their' simple faith. When they talked about Jesus' coming again and spoke of Heaven, their faces glowed. One of the little fellows sang, "It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus," and, though he stumbled a bit, I knew he really believed the words of this precious song. Truly, I marveled at the faith of these unusual lads.

Similarly, it was the centurion's faith — spoken of in Luke 7 — that caused Jesus to marvel. This soldier was an exceptional man for he had shown much kindness to the Jews. Moreover, it was quite unusual for Romans to have love for a slave as this man did. However, it was his faith that impressed Jesus most of all. This man who had been reared in paganism had heard about Jesus and believed in Him. Knowing that our Lord according to Jewish law would defile Himself by entering a Gentile home, he felt himself unworthy of a visit. He therefore declared that Jesus needed only to speak a word, and his servant would be healed. He believed that Jesus Christ was not only the Master of disease, but also of distance. As Jesus considered the wondrous, majestic sweep of this man's faith, He marveled. God delights in nothing more than to see us trust in Him wholly. (Used by permission from Our Daily Bread)

Fear not to call on Him,
O soul distressed!
Thy sorrow's whisper woos thee to His breast;
He who is o f tenest there is often blest;
Have faith in God!     
—Anon.

When true faith goes to "market" it always takes a "basket,"
for it never doubts of its reward!


Faith Works Read: Luke 7:1-10 

According to your faith let it be to you. —Matthew 9:29

Not all Christians exercise the same degree of faith. Some people seem to think their problem is too big for God to solve. Others are sure that God is all-powerful, but they’re not confident that He will do what is best for them. Still others affirm, “I know what God can do, and I’ll trust Him to do what He has promised.” These various attitudes range from a weak and tentative faith to a firm confidence that takes God at His word and believes He is good.

As we study the ministry of Jesus, we see varying degrees of faith in those who came to Him. He cast out a mute spirit from a son whose father wavered between faith and doubt (Mk. 9:17-24). He healed a leper who knew He could but was not sure He would (Mk.1:40-45). And He healed the servant of a centurion who was so sure of the outcome that he asked Jesus merely to speak the word from afar (Lk. 7:1-10).

These examples don’t teach that God always answers according to the strength of our faith. Rather, in His wisdom He responds to any degree of faith. His ultimate goal is to lead us to trust Him completely, so that we may know the fullness of His fellowship. Because of who Jesus is, He can turn the weakest faith into strong faith. By Dennis J. DeHaan (Used by permission from Our Daily Bread)

O for the peace of a perfect trust,
My loving God, in You—
Unwavering faith that never doubts
The good You choose to do.
—Anon.

Our faith in God grows greater as we recognize the greatness of our God.

Luke 7:10  When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

KJV  And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

THE SLAVE HEALED
AS JESUS HAD PROMISED

Luke leaves out a section of Matthew's account, which immediately follows Jesus' affirmation of the Gentile man's great faith not found in anyone in Israel. In light of that fact Jesus gives a stern warning which would describe the fate of those Jews who failed to believe in the Messiah:

“I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”(Mt 8:11-12)

When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health - Matthew says "And Jesus said to the centurion, "Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed that very moment." The picture Luke presents is of Jesus speaking to the friends the centurion had sent and by speaking to them, He was in effect speaking to the centurion. 

THOUGHT - The slave's physical healing of course is an illustration of Jesus' present power to save souls from a far more deadly illness of "infection" with the "sin virus," for unless this "infection" is cured by the Great Physician, the soul will die not only temporally and also eternally! And just as with the healing in this story, Jesus is absent in the flesh, but His Word still has the power to bring about a miraculous cure from sin! Jesus Who spoke the world into existence (Heb 11:3) needs only to speak a word and we are made whole in Him. Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus. Amen. 

Steven Cole applies the fact that the slave was in good health - "The miracles are pictures of spiritual truth. Christ’s power in healing this dying servant is a picture of His power to save those who are perishing in their sin. The message is clear: the power of salvation lies with the Savior, not with the sinner. All too often, I fear, we think, “I wish the Lord would save this person, but, after all, it’s up to the person’s free will.” But if salvation were up to the sinner’s free will, no one would be saved, because the sinner is spiritually dead. But if, as the Bible teaches, salvation is of the Lord, then we can pray in faith, “Lord, speak the word and impart new life to this sinner,” and know that He can do it. The effective servant believes in an exalted Lord who is mighty to save those who cannot do anything to save themselves.  (Luke 7:1-10 An Effective Servant)

J C Ryle - THESE verses (Lk 7:2-10) describe the miraculous cure of a sick man. A centurion, or officer in the Roman army, applies to our Lord on behalf of his servant, and obtains what he requests. A greater miracle of healing than this, is nowhere recorded in the Gospels. Without even seeing the sufferer, without touch of hand or look of eye, our Lord restores health to a dying man by a single word. He speaks, and the sick man is cured. He commands, and the disease departs. We read of no prophet or apostle, who wrought miracles in this manner. We see here the finger of God.

Barclay observes - IN this passage, as in the one immediately preceding, once again Luke the doctor speaks. In Lk 7:10 the word we translated completely cured is the technical medical term for sound in wind and limb. In Lk 7:15 the word used for sitting up is the technical term for a patient sitting up in bed.  (Luke 7)

Good health (5198) (hugiainoverb from noun hugies = whole, healthy; English = hygiene, hygienic = making sick folk whole; figuratively right or accurate) means to be in good health, to be healthy and wholesome, referring to literal, physical health as in (Luke 7:10)


James Smith - A SOLDIER'S FAITH. Luke 7:1-10.

"Dim as the borrow'd beams of moon and stars
To lonely, weary, wandering travellers
Is reason to the soul.
And as those nightly tapers disappear,
When day's bright lord ascends our hemisphere,
So pale grows reason at religion's sight,
So dies, and so dissolves in supernatural light."
—Dryden.

"Faith is a courier swift and sure who will carry us to the absent." All things are possible to him that believeth. In this Roman centurion we see a thoroughly practical man in ethical and spiritual warfare. His matter-of-fact manner in dealing with the Lord Jesus Christ is like a refreshing breeze from the mountains of Lebanon. Is his servant sick? He does not talk about his pity; he sends at once for the physician (v. 3). Does he love the Jewish nation? Then it is not in word but in deed "he builds them a synagogue" (v. 5). He does not speak of his faith, but he shows it in a way that makes the Lord Himself marvel at its simplicity and greatness (vv. 8, 9). How beautifully simple is his holy logic! "Say the word, and my servant shall be healed, for I also am a man under authority, and I say, Go, and he goeth." Soldier-like he believes that the Great Commander has but to speak and it shall be done. Such a compliment from a Gentile army captain could not pass without special mention. He said, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Lord, increase our faith. This incident is full of Gospel to us. Observe—

I. The Servant's Need. He was in a condition of—

1. UTTER HELPLESSNESS. "He was sick" (v. 2). Although a bondslave, he may have been surrounded with many mercies and favours, but he was unable to help himself. A picture of every one under the spirit-sickening power of sin. The helplessly sick have no thought of earning anything by their works. This hope has died away.

2. GREAT MISERY. "He was grievously tormented" (Matt. 8:6). One may be helpless and yet unconscious of it, but this servant was in sore distress. When a man is deeply convicted of his guilt and utter inability to help himself he will be grievously tormented. But such timely torment is infinitely better than the fatal insensibility that will inevitably result in the eternal scourge of remorse. Fools make a mock of sin.

3. IMMEDIATE DANGER. "He was ready to die" (v. 2). He was just at the point of dying. His disease had brought him to the very brink of eternity, and all the wisdom and power of man were vain and impotent to deliver. The danger of perishing at any moment should add to the torments of every unsaved one.

II. The Centurion's Petition. He made intercession for his devoted servant "when he heard of Jesus," clearly implying that he had believed what he did hear. Faith cometh by hearing. The manner of those elders who came to Jesus with his request shows the character of the centurion's prayer. It was—

1. EARNEST. "He sent unto Jesus, beseeching Him" (v. 3). Real anxiety and heart-felt sympathy are the parents of earnestness. When Peter's wife's mother was sick they kept continually telling Jesus of her (Mark 1:30). His servant was dear unto him, so love warmed up his prayer. All coldness and formality in prayer means heartlessness on the part of the petitioner. Where there is love for those "ready to die" there will be earnest beseeching on their behalf.

2. HUMBLE. "I am not worthy," said he, while the Lord was on the way to his house (v. 6). The elders said, "He is worthy, for he loveth our nation, and hath built us a synagogue." But this good man did not believe that his good works could merit such worthiness as having the Son of God beneath his roof. Nothing we can do will make us worthy of having Christ dwelling in us. This humility of spirit, like the self-unconsciousness of a little child, is the very breath of Heaven, and is refreshing to the soul of Jesus. In the sight of God unworthiness felt is worthiness shown. When Saul was little in his own sight the Lord exalted him (1 Sam. 15:17).

3. BELIEVING. "Say in a word, and my servant shall be healed" (v. 7). Faith has always to do with the Word of God, and is satisfied with that, knowing that He is faithful who promises. His Word cannot fail. How many are serving the Lord in sorrowful bondage, looking for signs and feelings instead of acting confidently on His Word. The Lord has already spoken many words that exactly suit our case, and they are as valid for us now as they were of old. "The words that I speak unto you are spirit and life" (John 6:63). Come believing.

III. The Saviour's Response. It was—

1. PROMPT. "Then Jesus went with them" (v. 6). The grace and truth that comes with Jesus Christ never comes too late. The prayer made urgent through intense love will speedily find a response in the love of God. "In due time Christ died for the ungodly;" how will He not also in due time answer the cry of faith?

2. ENCOURAGING. "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel" (v. 9). These faith-honouring words were spoken to the people that followed Him. He marvels at his faith, but He does not rebuke him for expecting too much. He is marvellously pleased with great faith. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. "O ye of little faith, wherefore do ye doubt?" Why have we not the faith of God in His own Son? (Mark 11:22, margin).

3. EFFECTUAL. "His servant was healed in the selfsame hour" (Matt. 8:13). He sent His Word, and healed him (Psa. 107:20). "As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." This "so be it done" is the Amen of Christ to the prayer of faith. Christ Himself is God's Amen to the agonising, trustful cry of humanity (Rev. 3:14). Little faith belittles the Christ of God and narrows up the channel of blessing. Doubting hearts may call Him great, but they trust Him little; they are like the soldiers who cried, "Hail, King!" then put on Him the mock robe

Luke 7:11  Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd.

KJV  And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.

THE COMPASSION OF CHRIST
Luke 7:11-17

The raising of the widow's son  (Luke 7:11-17)

  1. The setting  (Luke 7:11-12)
  2. The miracle  (Luke 7:13-15)
  3. The response  (Luke 7:16-17)

Mattoon entitles this section "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Cemetery."....In this portion of Scripture, we read of a funeral procession that did not end at the grave. No, it was interrupted. In fact, it would have been a mortician's nightmare because what normally was settled, the death of the person, was not settled at all. The funeral was not completed. What was usually final, was not finalized, but started over again. It was a funny thing that happened on the way to the cemetery. What was dead, all of the sudden was alive. This is what happens, however, when Jesus gets involved in impossible, hopeless situations. He resurrects and revives, bringing life to that which is dead or dying. When Jesus comes on the scene, funny things tend to happen.
    • Impossibilities are made possible. 
    • Hopelessness is replaced with hope. 
    • Tears are dried by joy. 
    • Problems are replaced with solutions. 
    • Sorrow gives way to serenity. 
    • Emptiness is evicted to the tenant of satisfaction. 
    • The presence of God and His peace plummets the panic that tugs at our heart. 
    • Luke 1:37—For with God nothing shall be impossible. 

Nain - see Wikipedia. "Nain was a day’s journey from Capernaum and lay between Endor and Shunem, where Elisha, as the old story runs, raised another mother’s son (2 Kings 4:18–37). To this day, ten minutes’ walk from Nain on the road to Endor there is a cemetery of rock tombs in which the dead are laid." (Barclay Luke 7))

Constable on He went to a city called Nain  - Jesus may have gone directly from Capernaum (Lk 7:1-11) to Nain. Nain was only about 20 miles southwest of that town. It lay on the northern slope of the Hill of Moreh that stood at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley. It was 6 miles south and a little east of Nazareth and is easily visible across the valley from Nazareth. The Hill of Moreh is a significant site because on its south side stood Shunem where Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:18-37). Luke distinguished two groups of people who accompanied Jesus, namely His disciples and a large multitude of presumably non-disciples.

Nain means "beautiful" and something beautiful happened on this day in this small town.

NET Note on Nain ("beautiful") - The term (polis) can refer to a small town, which is what Nain was. It was about six miles southeast of Nazareth.

Vincent on Nain - Mentioned nowhere else in the Bible. “On the northern slope of the rugged and barren ridge of Little Hermon, immediately west of Endor, which lies in a further recess of the same range, is the ruined village of Nain. No convent, no tradition marks the spot. But, under these circumstances, the name alone is sufficient to guarantee its authenticity. One entrance alone it could have had—that which opens on the rough hillside in its downward slope to the plain. It must have been in this steep descent, as, according to Eastern custom, they ‘carried out the dead man,’ that, ‘nigh to the gate’ of the village, the bier was stopped, and the long procession of mourners stayed, and ‘the young man delivered back to his mother’ ” (Stanley, “Sinai and Palestine”). “It is in striking accord with the one biblical incident in the history of Nain that renders it dear to the Christian heart, that about the only remains of antiquity are tombs. These are cut in the rock, and are situated on the hillside to the east of the village” (Thomson, “Land and Book”).

Disciples (3101)(mathetesfrom manthano = to learn which Vine says is "from a root math, indicating thought accompanied by endeavor". Gives us our English = "mathematics") describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study) and thus mathetes is more than a mere pupil. A mathetes describes an adherent of a teacher. As discussed below mathetes itself has no spiritual connotation, and it is used of superficial followers of Jesus as well as of genuine believers.

Robertson on were going along with Him - Imperfect middle picturing the procession of disciples and the crowd with Jesus.

Life Application Study Bible - This story illustrates salvation. The whole world was dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), just as the widow's son was dead. Being dead, we could do nothing to help ourselves—we couldn't even ask for help. But God had compassion on us, and he sent Jesus to raise us to life with him (Ephesians 2:4-7). The dead man did not earn his second chance at life, and we cannot earn our new life in Christ. But we can accept God's gift of life, praise God for it, and use our lives to do his will.


James Smith - THE WIDOW'S SON. Luke 7:11-16.

"The valley of dry bones,
Insensate as the stones,
Beneath Thy quickening breath
Rose up a living host.
O midst our sin and death
Come stir, Thou Holy Ghost."
—Grosart.

It is a hope-quickening thought that the Holy Spirit, that "other Comforter," who is the gift of the risen Saviour, possesses the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ. It is the Spirit that quickeneth. The raising of a dead body demonstrates His power to raise a soul dead in sin into a new life.

Who has not seen a funeral? Who has not buried a friend? We can easily lift the hat off our head as the mournful cortege passes; but Jesus Christ alone can lift the load of grief from the aching heart of the bereaved. As D. L. Moody used to say, "Jesus spoiled every funeral that He went to." The darkest night of gloom He can turn into midday brightness. We have here—

I. An Afflicted Woman. Her circumstances reveal a—

1. SORROWFUL PAST. "She was a widow" (v. 12). The scene of her husband's death-bed, the heart-rending parting, the mournful funeral, and the dread loneliness that followed; these were bygone sorrows, but perhaps merciful time had somewhat rubbed off their keen edge. It may be that we have had deep convictions of sin in the past when the pleasures of the world partly lost their savour, and by and by that spirit-wound got healed.

2. BITTER PRESENT. "Now her dead son is being carried out." Another season of trial has come; again the thick dark pall of sorrow has been spread over her sky. Once more she is face to face with death. Learn that if the Spirit awakens a second time the past will greatly aggravate the misery of the present.

3. HOPELESS FUTURE. This was the funeral of "the only son of his mother" (v. 12). The alone source of her comfort and help has been cut off. She is now without hope, having no promise, utterly cast down, but to such Jesus draws nigh. It is only when we are "without strength" that the power of God is manifested on our behalf. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. All her future prospects, like the centurion's servant, were "ready to die." But the Resurrection and the Life are at hand.

II. An Almighty Friend. "A friend in need is a friend indeed." The nearer she comes to the grave the nearer does she come to the life-giving Saviour. The darkest hour is the hour before daybreak. The sorrow that endures for a night shall be turned into joy in the morning when Jesus comes. Jesus meets the funeral, life and death come into contact, earthly weakness, sorrow, and disappointment in this woman are met by heavenly strength, consolation, and hope in Jesus Christ. Sin's ruin and God's remedy have come together. What are the results?

1. AN EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY. "When the Lord saw her He had compassion on her" (v. 12). As soon as the Lord saw her the love of His heart flowed out to her. Although as yet she is a stranger to His sympathy He is no stranger to her sorrow. Surely the sting of human suffering is the unconsciousness of divine compassion.

2. AN UNUSUAL WORD OF COMFORT. "He said unto her, Weep not" (v. 12). Weep not? Does she think these words spoken in mockery? Does He not know that this is the "only son of a widow?" He knew Himself what He would do. We may dry our tears at His bidding, no matter how bitter they may be. But perhaps it is not your tears so much as your cares that He bids you put away, saying, "Take no thought for your life," etc. (Matt. 6:25), as He Himself knows what He will do.

3. A TIMELY ARREST. "He touched the bier, and they that bare him stood still" (v. 14). This was the arresting touch of the mercy that saves. A little while longer and he would have been buried out of sight. Who shall arrest that soul which time, like a death-car, is carrying off to the grave of eternal doom if Jesus Christ is not met on the way?

4. A STRANGE COMMAND. "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise" (v. 14). Who is this that commands the dead to rise up? This is He who speaks as one having authority. As the coming of the light commands the darkness to vanish, so does the coming of His Word imply the power to overcome. Ignorance may cavil where faith is blessed. He is the mighty to save, who speaks and it is done.

5. A WONDROUS CHANGE. "He that was dead sat up, and began to speak" (v. 15). An example of one begotten again by the Word of God. What a change His life-giving Word brings! He who was a minute ago cold, helpless, silent, and corrupting is now aglow with the warmth of a new life, and able to testify by speech to His resurrection power. He is now a new creature, old things have passed away, all things have become new.

6. A HAPPY REUNION. "He delivered him to his mother" (v. 15). Oh, praise Him for His tenderness, He not only saved the son from death, but delivered him (gave him back as His own) to the comforting of the broken-hearted widow! She could truly say, "This my son was dead, and is alive again." A foretaste of Heaven's reunited fellowship and joy was hers. Death has been conquered, and loved ones meet each other again in the presence of the living Son of God.

7. A GOD-HONOURING RESULT. "There came a fear on all, and they glorified God" (v. 16). Those who follow Jesus (v. 11) will always have good cause for glorifying God, for they shall see great and mighty things done by Him. Yes, Jesus will be glorified in every word that He speaks. All His words and works shall praise Him. It will be for ever to the praise of His grace that "He saved others," but because of the might of His love for us "He could not save Himself" (Matt. 27:42)

Luke 7:12  Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her.

KJV  Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

A FUNERAL 
PROCESSION

Was being carried out - Burial was normally outside of the city.

Mattoon - The fact that the widow now had no surviving husband or son meant that she was in desperate circumstances economically as well as emotionally. Yet, in her desperation, she has a divine appointment. God's timing is never late. He is always on time like the rising of the sun.

New Manners and Customs - Funerals - When preparations for burial were completed, the body of the deceased was usually placed in a coffin and borne to the burial site in a procession of relatives, friends, and servants (Amos 6:10). The procession carried out the mourning ritual, which could include baldness and cutting of the beard, rending garments and wearing sackcloth, loud and agonized weeping, and putting dust on the head and sitting in ashes (2 Samuel 1:11–12; 13:31; 14:2; Isaiah 3:24, 22:12; Jeremiah 7:29; Ezekiel 7:18; Joel 1:8). The Canaanite practices of laceration and mutilation are forbidden in the Torah (Leviticus 19:27–28; 21:5; Deuteronomy 14:1).

Nelson NKJV Study Bible. - Funerals were normally held the day of death because keeping a body overnight rendered a house unclean. Before the funeral the body was anointed. In a town the size of Nain (k 7:11) many would have stopped to share in the mourning.

IVP Background Commentary - Interrupting a funeral was a blatant breach of Jewish law and custom; touching the bier exposed Jesus to a day’s uncleanness (Nu 19:21–22); touching the corpse exposed him to a week’s uncleanness (cf. Nu 5:2–3; 19:11–20). But in Jesus’ case, the influence goes in the other direction. People customarily dropped whatever they were doing and joined in a funeral procession when it passed by. For a widow’s only son to die before she did was considered extremely tragic; it also left her dependent on public charity for support unless she had other relatives of means.  

The only son of his mother - He was likely her means of support and her hope for the future so her loss was especially bad. 

Only (only begotten) (3439)(monogenes from monos = alone + genos = birth, race, kind <> from ginomai = to come into being, to become) means that which is the only one of its kind of class or specific relationship and thus is unique or "one and only." Except for Lk. 7:12; Lk. 8:42 ; Lk. 9:38 all the other uses of mongenes refer to Jesus = Jn. 1:14; Jn. 1:18; Jn. 3:16; Jn. 3:18; Heb. 11:17; 1 Jn. 4:9. 

Constable - Friends were carrying the corpse out of the city gate to bury it outside the town as was customary. The fact that the widow now had no surviving husband or son meant that she was in desperate circumstances economically as well as emotionally (cf. 1 Kings 17:10). She would probably become destitute without someone to provide for her needs.

A widow - God has always had special concern for widows (Exod 22:22; Deut 10:18; 27:19).

A sizeable crowd from the city was with her - Mourners wailing the loss. At times mourners were actually hired! The family's mourning would continue for 30 days.

Ryle commenting on the sizeable crowd - This expression should not be overlooked. It shows the publicity of the great miracle here recorded. It was wrought before many witnesses.


J C Ryle - THE wondrous event described in these verses, is only recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel. It is one of the three great instances of our Lord restoring a dead person to life, and, like the raising of Lazarus and the ruler’s daughter, is rightly regarded as one of the greatest miracles which He wrought on earth. In all three cases, we see an exercise of divine power. In each we see a comfortable proof that the Prince of Peace is stronger than the king of terrors, and that though death, the last enemy, is mighty, he is not so mighty as the sinner’s Friend.

We learn from these verses, what sorrow sin has brought into the world. We are told of a funeral at Nain. All funerals are mournful things, but it is difficult to imagine a funeral more mournful than the one here described. It was the funeral of a young man, and that young man the only son of his mother, and that mother a widow. There is not an item in the whole story, which is not full of misery. And all this misery, be it remembered, was brought into the world by sin. God did not create it at the beginning, when He made all things “very good.” Sin is the cause of it all. “Sin entered into the world” when Adam fell, “and death by sin.” (Rom. 5:12.)

Let us never forget this great truth. The world around us is full of sorrow. Sickness, and pain, and infirmity, and poverty, and labor, and trouble, abound on every side. From one end of the world to the other, the history of families is full of lamentation, and weeping, and mourning, and woe. And whence does it all come? Sin is the fountain and root to which all must be traced. There would neither have been tears, nor cares, nor illness, nor deaths, nor funerals in the earth, if there had been no sin. We must bear this state of things patiently. We cannot alter it. We may thank God that there is a remedy in the Gospel, and that this life is not all. But in the meantime, let us lay the blame at the right door. Let us lay the blame on sin.

How much we ought to hate sin! Instead of loving it, cleaving to it, dallying with it, excusing it, playing with it, we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred. Sin is the great murderer, and thief, and pestilence, and nuisance of this world. Let us make no peace with it. Let us wage a ceaseless warfare against it. It is “the abominable thing which God hateth.” Happy is he who is of one mind with God, and can say, I “abhor that which is evil.” (Rom. 12:9.)


Rod Mattoon on an eastern funeral - In Bible times, when someone died, the family members would let out a loud "death wail" that all the neighbors could hear. Such cries were terrifying and gut-wrenching, leaving your stomach in knots and sending cold chills through your veins. I'm sure this mother did this like all other mothers. This would inform friends and neighbors that a death had occurred. Mourners were even hired to weep for the deceased. These were mainly women who made a career out of doing this. They were professional weepers. Family and loved ones would show their grief by wearing itchy, scratchy black sackcloth made from the hair of goats. They would also tear their clothes like a toddler shredding paper. Those in mourning would also take off their shoes and cover their heads. Dirt was thrown over their heads or they would sit and roll around in ashes. Items like silver, gold, jewelry, daggers, or costly ornaments were not worn during mourning period which lasted as long as seven days.

In the East, men and women did not mourn together but sat apart because both women and men would uncover the breast and beat upon it. Sometimes this beating was so violent that they would develop tumors or diseases. Pagans in other countries would cut their bodies to inflict suffering upon themselves. This was forbidden in Jewish law.

The men would also shave their heads bald or cut their beards. Mustaches were also covered during times of mourning. The Babylonians, Arabs, and Persians, even today, will scratch their arms, faces, and hands and the women will cut their long, beautiful hair while mourning. Those who mourned would observe a fast, up to the time of burial, and then after the burial, a mourner's feast was held where food and drink were offered to comfort those in sorrow, and help them forget their grief.

Sometimes the grieving process would start before the death of the person. Tear bottles would be used to gather the tears of those who were weeping. A priest would go to the people at the height of their grief and use a piece of cotton to collect the tears. He then would squeeze them into a bottle. It was believed when all medicines had failed, a drop of a tear, put into the mouth of the dying person would revive them. Tears were also considered a charm to ward off evil.

Now due to the extreme warm climate of the region, the body was usually buried the day of death. The people of this region believed that the spirit hovered over the body for three days after death and could hear13 their cries of grief. These cries were a way of honoring the person who died. They demonstrated that the person was loved and greatly missed. The mourners would also wash the body and clip the hair and nails of the deceased.

Strips of linen were then wrapped around the body and were laced with hyssop, rose oils, rose water, myrrh, aloes, cinnamon or olive oil. The smell of these spices was pleasant and as fragrant as a garden of roses and wild flowers. The spices and paste that covered the body would harden the layers of linen, forming a shell or cocoon around the body of the deceased loved one.

A linen napkin was then placed over the face. In John 20:2, John did not enter the tomb of Jesus. He saw the linen shell in the tomb. Upon further examination, he realized Jesus was resurrected when he saw that his body was not in this cocoon, but had passed through it. The shell was miraculously empty and undisturbed. There was no face under the linen napkin.

After the body was wrapped, it was put on a pallet and carried in a funeral procession attended by loved ones and friends. They would march with the body to the place of burial. This is where we find our story today, during the funeral procession.

The body was placed in a grave for those who were poor, or a cave-type tomb for those who were wealthier. Cherished objects would be buried with the deceased person. It was then sealed with a huge stone weighing over a ton. They did not use coffins because of a lack of wood. In Israel, they did not cremate or burn the body either because this was considered an outrage inflicted only on notorious criminals or evil doers.

If the body was buried in the ground, it would be covered with many stones in order that the hyenas would not dig up the body. Guards were also placed by the grave for many days to protect the remains from animals. To warn the living that a body was buried in a cave, they would paint the outside of the tomb with white-wash. With this background, we continue the story.

Luke 7:13  When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep."

KJV And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

Barclay - When the Lord saw her he was moved to the depths of his heart for her and said to her, “Don’t go on weeping!”  (Luke 7)

The Lord saw her (kurios) "The Lord of Life confronts death (Plummer) and Luke may use Kurios here purposely" (Robertson)

Rod Mattoon on the Lord saw her - The Bible says that the Lord "saw" this woman. There is more to this word than just seeing. It is derived from the Greek word eido {i-do'} which not only means to see or notice, it indicates involvement. It also means "to see about something; to determine what must be done about a matter; to have regard for someone; to interview or examine." Jesus found out what was going on here and what this situation was all about. When He did, He had compassion on her. 

Ryle on saw her...felt compassion - Poole’s remarks on this expression are worth reading: “None moved our Lord on behalf of the widow, neither do we read that she herself spake to Him. But our Saviour’s bowels were moved at the sight of her sorrows, and consideration of her loss. It is observable that our Saviour wrought His healing miracles; 1, sometimes at the motion and desire of the parties to be healed; 2, sometimes at the desire of others on their behalf; 3, sometimes of His own free motion, neither themselves nor others soliciting Him for any such mercies toward them.”—“The leper was healed (Luke 5:12) in reply to his own personal application; the centurion’s servant (Luke 7:8) in reply to the prayer of his master; and the widow’s son was raised without any one interceding on his behalf.”

He felt compassion(4697)(splanchnizomaifrom splagchnon=bowel, viscera - see splagchnonnote below) means to experience a deep visceral feeling for someone, to feel compassion for, to feel sympathy, to take pity on someone. Compassion is the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. This verb expresses an outward flow of one's life in contrast to our natural tendency toward self centeredness. 

It is related to the noun splanchna, "inner parts of the body," which were considered the seat of the emotions, used 10x (Luke 1:78; 2 Cor. 6:12; 7:15; Phil. 1:8; 2:1; Col. 3:12; Phile. 7, 12, 20; 1 John 3:17).

It is notable that 8/12 NT uses describe this deep seated emotion in Jesus. It follows that if we desire to imitate Jesus, we need to be men and women of deep compassion! 

Matt. 9:36; Matt. 14:14; Matt. 15:32; Matt. 18:27; Matt. 20:34; Mk. 1:41; Mk. 6:34; Mk. 8:2; Mk. 9:22; Lk. 7:13; Lk. 10:33; Lk. 15:20

NET Note on He felt compassion - It is unusual for Luke to note such emotion by Jesus, though the other Synoptics tend to mention it (Mt 14:14; Mk 6:34; Mt 15:32; Mk 8:2).

Robertson - Often love and pity are mentioned as the motives for Christ’s miracles (Matt. 14:14; 15:32, etc.).

Related Resources:

IVP Background Commentary -  According to custom the bereaved mother would walk in front of the bier, so Jesus would meet her first. Philosophers often tried to console the bereaved by saying, “Do not grieve, for it will do no good.” Jesus’ approach is entirely different: he removes the cause of bereavement (1 Kings 17:17–24).

Jesus' command to stop weeping is not necessarily an easy command for a grieving mother. Indeed, Jesus does give us commands which at times seem very difficult (like forgive a person who has wronged you, etc), and yet His commandment includes His enablement. What we must do on our part is to trust His Word. None of us have scored 100% on the "Trust Test" but each difficult command is an opportunity to practice our trust in His sufficiency and His trustworthiness! 

Do not weep (present imperative with a negative = Cease weeping)(2799)(klaio) means to mourn, to weep, to lament or to wail with emphasis upon noise accompanying weeping. It expresses one’s immediate and outward reaction to suffering and denotes the loud wailing or lamenting typical of 1st century Jewish mourning. The picture is of one lamenting with sobs or wailing aloud and was used to describe the wailing that took place when someone died. Weeping thus was a sign of the pain and grief for the entity or person being wept over (See all verses and note who wept and over what/who?)

Klaio implies not only the shedding of tears, but also external expression of grief. It was a term frequently used to describe the actions of professional mourners.


J C Ryle - We learn, secondly, from these verses, how deep is the compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ’s heart. We see this beautifully brought out in His behavior at this funeral in Nain. He meets the mournful procession, accompanying the young man to his grave, and is moved with compassion at the sight. He waits not to be applied to for help. His help appears to have been neither asked for nor expected. He saw the weeping mother, and knew well what her feelings must have been, for He had been born of a woman Himself. At once He addressed her with words alike startling and touching: He “said unto her, Weep not.”—A few more seconds, and the meaning of His words became plain. The widow’s son was restored to her alive. Her darkness was turned into light, and her sorrow into joy.

Our Lord Jesus Christ never changes. He is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. His heart is still as compassionate as when He was upon earth. His sympathy with sufferers is still as strong. Let us bear this in mind, and take comfort in it. There is no friend or comforter who can be compared to Christ. In all our days of darkness, which must needs be many, let us first turn for consolation to Jesus the Son of God. He will never fail us, never disappoint us, never refuse to take interest in our sorrows. He lives, who made the widow’s heart sing for joy in the gate of Nain. He lives, to receive all laboring and heavy-laden ones, if they will only come to Him by faith. He lives, to heal the broken-hearted, and be a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. And He lives to do greater things than these one day. He lives to come again to His people, that they may weep no more at all, and that all tears may be wiped from their eyes.


Jon CoursonCompassion is your pain in my heart. It's a quality sadly lacking in our society, but one Jesus exemplified constantly. He is called the Man of Sorrows because He took the pain of people into His own heart. And yet the irony is that Hebrews 1:9 tells us He was anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows. How could He be the Man of Sorrows and yet anointed with the oil of gladness above any other human being who has ever lived—radiating such joy that multitudes would be drawn to Him? These are two qualities that seem contradictory—until we remember the words He taught us when He said, "Blessed, or happy, are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (see Matthew 5:4). One of the keys of happiness is to allow sorrow to penetrate your heart. Eastern mysticism totally rejects this viewpoint. A foundational principle of Buddha's teaching was to avoid pain and sorrow, for if mankind would enter into the state of detached feeling, of nirvana, there would be no more jealousy or envy, no more wars and fighting. This thinking has affected us more than we know. Having permeated the '60s culture, it was Eastern thought that caused us to say, "I am a rock. I am an island," as we sang along with Simon and Garfunkel. Jesus, however, came on the scene and annihilated that mentality by saying, "Happy is the man not who detaches himself, but who mourns, who is heartbroken, for he is the one who will be comforted." "Comfort" is an old English word containing the same root as that of the word "fortify." In other words, Jesus said that the one who is mourning will also be the one who is fortified. In the Garden of Gethsemane, so deeply was Jesus mourning that blood burst from His forehead. And yet Luke tells us that even as He was agonizing in prayer, an angel came and comforted, sustained, and fortified Him (Luke 22:43, 44). When is the last time I have been at the place of being pained in prayer for someone else's problem, someone else's sin? Could it be that I am not comforted by the Comforter or the angelic presence because I am not doing what Jesus did? Blessed are they who mourn, who plunge into life and feel the pain of life. They shall be comforted. Are you unhappy? Do you feel comfortless? Take seriously what Jesus said. It's an irony. It's a mystery. It runs crosscurrent to the thinking of our society. And yet the key to happiness is to mourn for others, to carry someone else's pain in your heart. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary)


ILLUSTRATION - According to Henry Jacobsen, six Scottish miners were forced to make a heart-rending decision. While they were working some 1,500 feet below the surface, a shaft collapsed. Debris trapped one of their companions. Then mud and water began to rush in. The miners realized that soon all avenues of escape would be closed to them, and they all would perish unless they fled without delay. With great agony the six men decided to let their coworker die rather than be entombed in that shaft while attempting to save him. They were compelled to abandon him.
In contrast, God is never forced to forsake one of His children. No matter how desperate the situation may be or how great the problems we face, the heavenly Father stays by our side to meet our deepest needs with His infinite wisdom and power. Under no circumstance and at no time will He give up on those He has purchased with the blood of His Son.

We may at times, feel abandoned, but we will never be abandoned. The Lord is concerned about our needs. Don't underestimate His involvement in your life when you are going through a difficult trial. He has a knack at turning our lives around when we need His help and care. - Rod Mattoon


William Miller - "When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, Don't cry!" Luke 7:13
A sorrow in a home sends out a wave of tender feeling which impresses a wide community. While the death-crape hangs on a door, almost everyone of the great throng of passers-by is made at least for the moment, a little more thoughtful. Even strangers going by feel the influence, and their hearts are warmed by it. Whatever thus touches men with a gentler mood, though but transiently, becomes a blessing in the world. There is a humanizing influence in sympathy. It makes men more tolerant of each other, more patient with each other's faults, more loving and thoughtful. That which is changing the world these days from cruelty and savageness, into lovingness and brotherliness, is a sorrow—the sorrow of Calvary.


Luke 7:11-18 

At times, the world seems to be an uncaring, unsympathetic place. People are often cruel and indifferent, not giving a second thought to the plight of their suffering neighbors. Wrapped up in their own interests, they don't seem to notice the anguish and despair that is at their doorstep.

This could not be said of the Lord Jesus. Time after time He met the needs of suffering people. Luke 7 tells about Christ's compassion when He saw the widow stricken with grief over the death of her son. Jesus had compassion on her and healed the boy. Earlier, when He saw a man with leprosy—who was despised, ostracized, and no doubt terri­bly disfigured—He made him well (Luke 5:12-15). Still today, Jesus looks upon human need with compassion.

A little girl whose mother had been taken to the hospital was spend­ing the night alone with her father for the first time. Soon after her father turned out the lights, the girl asked quietly, "Daddy, are you there?" "Yes," he assured her. A moment later she asked, "Daddy, are you looking at me?" When he said yes, she fell asleep.

Likewise, every child of God can depend on the Savior's look of love. No matter how painful the problem or how deep the sorrow, we know He has His eyes fixed on us. And knowing that our Savior's compas­sionate gaze always watches over us should make us loving, caring people. Although the world may turn its eyes from suffering, the Christian, following the example of our Savior, should be alert to sorrow and quick to respond. —D. C. Egner 

God loves every one of us as if there were but one of us to love.


F B MeyerLuke 7:13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

No widow stands by the bier of her only son, no mother by the empty cot of her babe, no lover beside the fading beauty of his beloved — but the Son of Man, unseen but glorious, is at hand, seeing, understanding, touched with compassion, and saying, in his tenderest tones, Weep not!

Weep not: Love is eternal. — Hast thou forgotten that there are three things which abide for evermore, the greatest of which is love? Is it likely that those blessed ties which have woven us to others can be snapped by death, which can only touch the body, but is not able to reach the soul? Is not love of God — and can God’s love change, and pass away? No; though severed from your sight, the dear ones that are gone are thine today, and have not forgotten, but love thee still. Without us they cannot be made perfect.

Weep not: recognition of the beloved dead is certain.

Sours: https://www.preceptaustin.org/luke-7-commentary

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David Guzik :: Study Guide for Luke 7

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The Sick Healed, the Dead Raised, the Sinner Forgiven

A. A centurion's servant is healed.

1. (Luk 7:1-5) The centurion's request.

Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, "for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue."

a. A certain centurion's servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die: This centurion seems to be a devout, kind, humble man-yet, all the same he is a centurion-not only a Gentile, but a Roman soldier, and an instrument of Israel's oppression.

i. The centurion had an unusual attitude towards his slave. Under Roman law, a master had the right to kill his slave, and it was expected that he would do so if the slave became ill or injured to the point where he could not work.

b. He sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant: Apparently, the centurion did not think himself worthy of a personal meeting with Jesus, and perhaps thought Jesus would not want to meet with a Gentile like himself, so he sent Jewish leaders as his representatives to Jesus.

i. We don't need to have the centurion's fear today. We don't need to send a representative to Jesus-we can come to Him ourselves.

2. (Luk 7:6-8) The centurion tells Jesus that He need not come, because he knows that Jesus need not be present to do His work.

Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having 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."

a. Then Jesus went with them: Jesus did not hesitate to go to the centurion's house, and we half wish the centurion would have allowed Him. Would Jesus have entered a Gentile's house? It was completely against Jewish custom, but not against God's law.

b. But say the word, and my servant will be healed: The centurion fully understands that Jesus' healing power was not some sort of magic trick that required the magician's presence. Instead he knew Jesus had true authority, and can command things to be done and completed outside His immediate presence.

i. The centurion shows great faith in Jesus' word. He understands that Jesus can heal with His word just as easily as with a touch.

ii. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me: The centurion also knew about the military chain of command, and how the orders of one in authority were unquestioningly obeyed-he sees that Jesus has at least that much authority.

iii. "He believes that, just as he, a man with authority, is obeyed by his subordinates, just so surely will the authoritative utterance of Christ be fulfilled even though He is not present where the sick person is." (Geldenhuys)

c. The centurion also shows great sensitivity to Jesus, in that he wants to spare Jesus the awkward challenge of whether or not to enter a Gentile's house-as well as the time and trouble of travel.

i. He didn't know Jesus well enough to know that He would feel awkward in the least; but his consideration of Jesus in this situation is impressive.

3. (Luk 7:9-10) Jesus heals the servant and marvels at the centurion's faith.

When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, "I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

a. He marveled at him: We see that Jesus only marveled on a few occasions. He does so here, at the faith of the centurion, and also at the unbelief of His own people (Mark 6:6). Jesus can be amazed at either our faith or our unbelief.

b. The centurion knew that Jesus had true power from God, not magic that had to be used according to some ritualistic formula.

B. Jesus raises a boy from the dead.

1. (Luk 7:11-13) Jesus comes upon a funeral procession.

Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep."

a. A dead man was being carried out: The tragedy is compounded when we are told that the boy was the only son of his mother and that the mother herself was a widow. The loss of her only son means that there is nothing in her future except a life of destitute poverty and misery.

b. Do not weep: Why does Jesus tell her to stop crying? There is nothing wrong for a mother to weep at the funeral of her son; but Jesus is showing her that her sorrow will be turned to joy. Jesus' words of compassion to the mother would have been cruel if He did not have the power to back them up.

2. (Luk 7:14-17) Jesus raises the boy from the dead.

Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has risen up among us"; and, "God has visited His people." And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

a. He came and touched the open coffin: The picture is all the more powerful when we are told that it was an open coffin. Jesus is able to look at this boy, and speak to a dead person as if they were alive.

b. Young man, I say to you, arise: Romans 4:17 shows that this is what God alone does-speak to the dead as if they were alive. God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Jesus could speak to something dead and bring life to it.

c. So he who was dead sat up and began to speak: Jesus had a strange habit of breaking up funeral processions by raising the dead, such as Jarius' daughter (Luke 8:41-56) and Lazarus (John 11:1-45). Jesus didn't like death, and He regarded it as an enemy that had to be defeated.

d. We remember that this boy was not resurrected, but resuscitated-he rose from the dead only to die again. God promises that we will be resurrected, and rise from the dead never to die again.

C. Jesus and John the Baptist.

1. (Luk 7:18-19) John questions Jesus: are You really the Christ (the Messiah)?

Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?"

a. Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another? Why does John ask this question, especially after all the miraculous signs that would demonstrate this to him? Weren't all the prophecies through his father Zacharias (Luke 1:13-17 and 1:67-80) and the voice from heaven at Jesus' baptism (Luke 3:21-22) enough proof?

b. Matthew tells us that John asked this question from prison (Matthew 11:2-3). Even John the Baptist probably had some misunderstanding of Jesus' mission, and thought: "If He really is who I thought He is, why am I in prison?" John probably asked this question because of discouragement in prison.

i. "John was already in prison, and things began to appear incomprehensible to him. He had expected that Christ would speedily destroy the powers of darkness and judge the unrighteous. But instead of doing this, He leaves him, His forerunner, helpless in prison." (Geldenhuys)

ii. It is the same with us. Our discouraging circumstances often cause us to forget or doubt who Jesus is.

2. (Luk 7:20-23) Jesus' answer to John's disciples: tell him that the Messiah is alive and well.

When the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?'" And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."

a. And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight: John might have wondered why the power of the Messiah was not being shown in more significant acts, such as in freeing him from prison and calling down fire from heaven on the evil political leaders who put him in prison!

b. Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: Jesus sends John's messengers back with a simple report. The Messiah is definitely here, but His power is manifested in acts of mercy, not judgment, and blessed is he who can receive this Messiah of mercy.

i. When discouragement has led us to believe that Jesus isn't really who we thought He was, we need to clear our eyes and look to God's Word to see who He really is.

c. How can we know that the power of Jesus is really at work? When we see the simple needs of simple people being met in a powerful way.

3. (Luk 7:24-28) Jesus teaches about John the Baptist.

When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings' courts. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.' For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

a. What did you go out into the wilderness to see? Jesus explains that John was a great man of God, one who did not live for his own comfort or the approval of others. John is a chosen prophet of God, not a man-pleaser.

b. For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: Yet, John was greater than all the prophets, mainly because he had the privilege of saying of the Messiah "here He is" instead of "He is coming."

c. Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You: Jesus quotes the Malachi passage about the coming of John, because the prophets themselves were not prophesied, but John was, and this is one way that he is greater than all previous prophets.

d. But he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he: Yet, John the Baptist is less than the least in the kingdom of God, because John was not born again under the terms of the new covenant, on account that Jesus' work on the cross had not yet been accomplished.

4. (Luk 7:29-35) Jesus admonishes those who refuse to be pleased by either His ministry or John's.

And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. And the Lord said, "To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying: 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not weep.' For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by all her children."

a. And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John: Those who had repented in preparation for the Messiah by receiving John's baptism found it easy to receive what Jesus said. But those who would not repent rejected the counsel of God for themselves.

b. We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not weep: Jesus points out the hypocrisy of these hardened hearts who criticized both John the Baptist and Jesus Himself. "If the message is unwelcome, nothing that the messenger can say or do will be right." (Maclaren)

D. Jesus forgives a sinful woman.

1. (Luk 7:36-38) A sinful woman anoints Jesus' feet.

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

a. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner: Some suppose this is Mary Magdalene, but we have no evidence that this was her. In John 12:3, Mary of Bethany also anoints Jesus' feet with oil, but this was a separate incident.

b. Who was a sinner: This tells us more than that she was a sinner just like we are all sinners. She was a particularly notorious sinner-most likely, a prostitute.

i. It was pretty bold for this woman with a sinful reputation to come into the house of a Pharisee, but she was willing to do anything to express her love for Jesus. Going into that house took courage and determination.

c. Brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil: Morris on the alabaster flask: "It had no handles and was furnished with a long neck which was broken off when the contents were needed … We may fairly deduce that this perfume was costly. Jewish ladies commonly wore a perfume flask suspended from a cord round the neck, and it was so much a part of them that they were allowed to wear it on the sabbath."

d. And stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears: How did she pour this perfumed oil on Jesus while He had sat down to eat? "People reclined on low couches at festive meals, leaning on the left arm with the head towards the table and the body stretched away from it. The sandals were removed before reclining." (Morris)

i. We can imagine the woman coming originally to only anoint Jesus' feet with oil; but then, being overcome with emotion, tears flowing from her eyes, starting to wash His feet with her tears, wiping them clean with her hair, and kissing His feet repeatedly.

ii. Normally, this oil would be used on someone's head. This woman shows her humility by saying, "the best perfume for my head is only good enough to anoint Your feet."

iii. "To have her hair flowing would be deemed immodest … [she] kissed fervently, again and again." (Bruce) But in her emotional display of love, it doesn't matter to her.

2. (Luk 7:39-47) Simon the Pharisee objects to this, and Jesus answers his objection.

Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." So he said, "Teacher, say it." "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged." Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little."

a. This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner: Simon the Pharisee doubted that Jesus was a prophet because he thought that Jesus was unable to see this woman's heart. But Jesus has no problem seeing hearts-He tells Simon the Pharisee exactly what is on his heart.

b. Jesus uses a simple and easily understood parable to illustrate the point: the more we are forgiven, the more we should love.

i. We don't need to go and sin more in order to be forgiven more, thus loving God more. All we need to do is become more sensitive to our current state of sinfulness.

c. Do you see this woman? Therefore, Jesus explains the motive of the woman's deeply emotional devotion. She loved Jesus because in faith she anticipated His forgiveness.

i. Simon the Pharisee did not see the woman as she was (a humble sinner seeking forgiveness, pouring out love for Jesus) for he was looking at her as she had been (a notorious sinner).

d. I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet: Simon the Pharisee denied Jesus the common courtesies between a host and a guest-washing the feet, a kiss for a greeting, anointing the head with oil. Does he now reproach the woman for giving them to Jesus?

i. Jesus noticed neglect and appreciated devotion. He did not reject deeply emotional devotion.

3. (Luk 7:48-50) Jesus assures the woman of her forgiveness from God.

Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

a. Your sins are forgiven: If Jesus has already said that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:47), why does he turn to the woman and repeat it? Because we need the healing power inherent in the words your sins are forgiven.

i. It can be so hard for us to truly believe that we are forgiven, that often, we must be persuaded of it.

b. On what basis does Jesus forgive her? Not because He just wants to irritate Simon the Pharisee; but because the woman has displayed humility of repentance and a devoted love for Jesus.

i. The humility and love are themselves God's work within the woman. She could not come to Jesus in this way unless God had first moved within her.

c. Your faith has saved you: The key to her forgiveness was faith-it was her faith that saved her, because it was her faith that believed the words from Jesus your sins are forgiven. Faith enabled her to take the grace God gave to her.

i. Forgiveness is ready from God; there is no hesitation or shortage on His part. Our part is to come with humility and loving submission to Jesus, and to receive the forgiveness He offers by faith.

d. Go in peace: The woman came to Jesus in complete humility, with the attitude that she was not worthy to even be in His presence. That was a good way for her to come to Jesus, but He doesn't want her to stay there. He raises her up, acknowledges her love, forgives her sin, and sends her in peace.

e. Of the works done in this chapter, this is the greatest. Sickness that is healed (as in the centurion's servant), or life that is restored (as in the widow's son) are not permanent works of healing, because those bodies will one day die again. But sins that are forgiven are forgiven forever.

© 2000 David Guzik-No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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