Jesus and the Centurion

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    In Matthew 8, a centurion comes to see Jesus and asks him to heal a servant who is ill. Jesus says, okay, I'll come. The centurion says, you don't need to come, just speak the word. Jesus comments on the centurion's remarkable faith, and tells him to go home, the servant is healed.

    Now, in Luke 7, a centurion sends a delegation to see Jesus, to ask him to come heal the servant. Jesus and the centurion communicate through the centurion's friends.

    So, please explain. Are there two centurions with sick servants? If this is the same centurion, explain the differences in the story.

    My son, who is teaching from these passages this morning, asked me, and I hate for him to learn that I don't know everything. So a quick answer would help before I leave for Sunday School.
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Well, we kicked it around at church this morning. We tended to agree that it's a reference to the same centurion.

    The conflict was explained this way. The centurions's representatives spoke for him, and spoke what he told them to say. To speak to them is to speak, in effect, to the centurion, and vice versa.

    It's not a completely satisfactory resolution. Anybody else want to try to explain the passages mentioned in the OP?
     
  3. J. Jump

    J. Jump
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    Actually that seems to be pretty plausible. When those that spoke on behalf of the one in charge it was as if the one in charge was speaking himself.

    I think you have made a good obeservation.
     
  4. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
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    Tom --

    This "sorta, kinda" basically goes along with the thoughts you made in your second post. I'm quoting here from a note on Luke 7:3 that I found in my Life Application Bible [(c) 1996, Tyndale House]:

    "Matthew 8:5 says the Roman officer visited Jesus himself, while Luke 7:3 says he sent Jewish leaders to present his request to Jesus. In dealing with the messengers, Jesus was dealing with the officer. For his Jewish audience, Matthew emphasized the man's faith. For his Gentile audience, Luke highlighted the good relationship between the Jewish leaders and the Roman officer."
     
  5. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Thanks folks, this is helping a lot. I welcome any other thoughts. My son is teaching a group of older teens and 20-somethings, and he's teaching them about the reliability of scripture--from an inerrancy viewpoint.

    It's necessary to deal with what appear to be contradictions if you're doing that, because they're sure to come up.

    Many thanks.
     
  6. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    We did a program at our church this Easter (choir/drama/the whole schmeer) called "Bow the Knee" in which the centurion of which you speak is purported to be the centurion at the cross.

    While it's not Scriptural, we found no reason not to present this as a possibility. Any thoughts?
     
  7. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Joshua, I'd call it artistic license. Don't have a problem with it.
     
  8. ktn4eg

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    As best that I can determine, I see no specific scripture that states that the centurion in Mark 15:39 was not the very same one to which the Matthew 8 and Luke 8 passages refer.

    If there is a specific scripture that says so, please let me know.
     
  9. rbell

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    Tom...from Luke 7:

    6He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

    I agree with the others...since this man sent subordinates, it was as if they were speaking for him.

    Funny, too...if that theory is true, it just further reinforces what the centurion was saying...soldiers under him did as he asked; in fact, because they were under his authority, when they spoke, it was as if the centurion spoke.

    I used this passage to teach the truth: We should ultimately trust the Person who has the authority to make happen what they say.

    In other words, I used the example to our teens: You're working at McDonalds. The owner comes in and says to you, "You've done a great job. I'm making you a supervisor now."

    Just then, your mom comes in. You tell her of the good news, and she says, "Whaddaya mean, supervisor? You don't even keep your room clean! You're too young...you're not qualified!"

    Then, a friend comes in. He asks to speak to the supervisor about a job application. You say, "that's me." He says, "No way! You're not old enough to be a supervisor! You're still a kid! You can't do it!"

    An employee asks to speak to the shift supervisor about time off. You respond, "When do you need off?" He says, "No, I need to ask someone who can really help," and he can't believe you can help him.

    After several of these instances, you might feel intimidated, beaten up, unsure, and worried...so it's time to ask the question:

    The customers, co-workers, and the like expressed their concerns. But ultimately, you are supervisor because the Person In Charge (who has the right to say it and the power to enforce it) said you are. We believe the owner because...well, he owns it. We are not in charge, but he is. And if he makes a statement, then his position deems that statement to be trustworthy.

    The Centurion chose "Who to believe" wisely. He understood that one has a right to speak authoritatively over any area which they controlled. Since he was the lord of his servants, he could speak, and they would respond. Since Jesus was LORD over this servant's sickness and destiny, He had a right to speak to that issue...and whatever Jesus said would be OK...because He was in charge, and could therefore be trusted.



    OK...that was wayyyy sermony there. Sorry...it's just that we discussed this a few weeks ago and it's still fresh.
     
  10. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    rbell, thanks.

    Your take on this is quite helpful.
     

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