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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 11; Luke 7 Listen
In these passages, we see the following events in Jesus' ministry:
The centurion who knew his place (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10)
|5 ¶ Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 ¶ And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 ¶ The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, “Go,’ and he goes; and to another, “Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 ¶ When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
|1 Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum.
2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die.
3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant.
4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving,
5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
6 ¶ 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.
7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.
8 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.”
9 ¶ 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!”
10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.
Matthew's account is more abbreviated than Luke's. Matthew's account goes to the bottom line of the words exchanged between Jesus and the Roman centurion (a Gentile). We find from Luke's account that the words were actually exchanged through messengers because the centurion did not feel worthy to address Jesus personally. It would appear that Luke wants to emphasize the extreme respect the centurion had for Judaism by not wanting to compromise Jesus' testimony (in hanging out with a Gentile); you will recall the outrage of the Pharisees when Jesus went to Matthew's house where Gentiles were present in Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:14-17; Luke 5:27-32 (see notes). This conversation between Jesus and the centurion actually takes place in two waves - the first group of messengers in Matthew 8:3, "he sent elders of the Jews to Him." Capernaum is in northern Israel on the north side of the Sea of Galilee, so these were probably not the Jerusalem leaders of the Jews, but local leaders in Capernaum. Since this centurion had been so considerate of the Jews there (even built them a synagogue), they declare this Gentile worthy of a miracle from Jesus (verses 4-5). Jesus heads for the centurion's house.
Not far from the house, the centurion sends out a second set of messengers (akin to attorneys speaking on one's behalf) to talk with Jesus. These representatives are the ones to whom Jesus talks on behalf of the centurion. The centurion compares Jesus' power over sickness to his own power over his troops. He tells Jesus that all he needs to do is speak, and his servant will be healed. Jesus expresses his delight over this man's grasp of faith. Here's a Gentile who exercises more faith than those Jews to whom Jesus has come as Messiah. Then Jesus makes an interesting statement in Matthew 8:11-12 "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." He points out that, while Jews ("children of the kingdom") will reject him, Gentiles will come from all parts of the world to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. Isaiah had prophesied that the millennium will consist of Jews and Gentiles alike (Isaiah 55-56, see notes), a prophetic doctrine that the Jewish leaders weren't too crazy about.
A resurrection miracle (Luke 7:11-17)
|11 ¶ 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.
12 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.
13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
14 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.”
15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.
16 ¶ Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”
17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.
The day following the healing of the centurion's servant, Jesus is about 15 miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel in the city of Nain. Luke is careful to point out (as he frequently does) the large crowd who is following Jesus. A funeral procession goes by, and Jesus has compassion on the widow woman whose only son was in the open coffin; he touches the coffin and says, "Young man, I say to you, Arise." The young man sits up in the coffin and begins to speak. Luke points out in verses 16-17 that the people were subsequently very enthusiastic regarding the ministry of Jesus, acknowledging him as "a great prophet." This certainly must have reminded them of Elijah (I Kings 17:17-24, see notes) and Elisha (II Kings 4:18-37, see notes) when they had worked similar resurrection miracles.
John the Baptist sends messenger to check Jesus out (Matthew 11:1-19; Luke 7:18-35)
|1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.
2 ¶ And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples
3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
4 ¶ Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:
5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
7 ¶ As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.
10 For this is he of whom it is written:
“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
11 ¶ “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.
15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
16 ¶ “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions,
17 and saying:
“We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not lament.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon.’
19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”
|18 ¶ Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things.
19 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?”
20 ¶ 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?’ ”
21 And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.
22 ¶ 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.
23 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
24 ¶ 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?
25 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.
26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.
27 This is he of whom it is written:
“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
28 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.”
29 ¶ And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John.
30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.
31 ¶ And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like?
32 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.’
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, “He has a demon.’
34 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!’
35 But wisdom is justified by all her children.”
John the Baptist is in prison, so he sends a couple of his disciples to check Jesus out; who is he? As an interesting aside, John had baptized Jesus and saw the miracle that took place at Jesus' baptism. However, while John suspects that Jesus is the Messiah, John wants a confirmation. It appears that John's disciples show up when Jesus is surrounded by a crowd of seekers AND scoffers. John's disciples ask Jesus this question, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" Inquiring minds want to know. So, how is Jesus going to sufficiently answer John's disciples without directly proclaiming himself the Messiah before the hostile Jewish leaders there who are just waiting for him to utter words that can be used as evidence of blasphemy. Well, it's simple for Jesus. First of all, he immediately begins healing the people in the multitude and tells John's disciples to report this to John. John's a smart man; he will immediately relate these actions to the prophesied actions of the Messiah in Isaiah 61 (see notes). You may recall that a year (perhaps as much as two) earlier, Jesus introduced his Messianic ministry up in Nazareth when he read this very same Old Testament passage in Luke 4:18-19 (see notes) regarding the miracles that would be performed during the ministry of the Messiah. However, in that passage, Jesus concluded in Luke 4:21 by saying, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." While he doesn't read Isaiah 61 on this occasion, he does refer to the Messianic activity outlined there. In other words, "Yes!"
After John's disciples leave, Jesus continues with a startling announcement to those who surrounded him, "I am the Messiah." But he doesn't say it in a way that can be used as evidence against him by the Jewish leaders. He says of John in verse 27, "This is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.'" That's a quotation from Malachi 3:1 (see notes) proclaiming that a prophet will precede the Messiah, and that prophet is John the Baptist. It is interesting to note that later on when Jesus is asked about whether or not John is the fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy, Jesus says, in essence, he could have been. You see, Malachi's prophecy looked all the way into the millennium. Had the Jews received Jesus as the Messiah, he would have been the fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy; but since they did not, he was not the fulfillment of that prophecy. Jesus said this when asked about this matter in Matthew 11:14 (see notes) "And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come." He further adds in Matthew 17:10-13 (see notes) "And His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.' Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist."
Now here's the big caveat: Daniel had prophesied that the Messiah would be "cut off" in Daniel 9:26 (see notes), and Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would be rejected by the Jews in Isaiah 52-53 (see notes). When John the Baptist and Jesus came, the Jews did have an opportunity to receive Jesus as their Messiah and usher in the rule of Israel over the earth under the Davidic throne. It had been prophesied that they would reject, and Christ knew that in advance as well (of course he did). Therefore, John the Baptist would have fulfilled the Malachi prophecy had the Jews readily accepted the Messiah, but they did not...so John, consequently, was not Elijah. As it turns out, Elijah does, in fact, appear prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ in Revelation 11:3 (see notes), and this event will fulfill the criteria referenced by Malachi 4:5 (see notes). For greater detail, see the article in the information box to the right of this window entitled, "Was John the Baptist Elijah?"
So, when the day was over, how did the Jewish leaders respond to Jesus? Luke 7:30 (see notes) sums it up, "But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him." Of course, what did we expect? But they did walk away without evidence to convict Jesus of anything. It is further interesting to notice that Luke tells us in verse 29, "And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John." It was only the self-centered Jewish leaders that rejected. Hey! Did you catch that phrase? Notice again the words, "having been baptized with the baptism of John" The Greek verb there is an aorist passive participle. Being aorist and passive in form, it points to a time when these folks had been baptized by John's baptism. There is no real indication that baptizing with John's baptism was done on this particular day.
John the Baptist's description of his baptism is found in Matthew 3:11 (see notes), "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." This projected baptism was first initiated on the Day of Pentecost after the ascension of Jesus in Acts 2 (see notes). Now, view that in the light of the baptism that New Testament Believers undergo after salvation by noticing Romans 6:1-14 (see notes). When we are baptized by immersion as Believers, we are typifying death, burial and resurrection in Jesus Christ. That picture only became valid after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Jesus pronounces judgment on some cities (Matthew 11:20-24)
|20 ¶ Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:
21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
These two cities mentioned by Jesus, Chorazin and Bethsaida, are right next to Capernaum on the north side of the Sea of Galilee in Northern Israel. Because of their rejection of the truth, Jesus passes judgment on those Jewish leaders there who reject his message. He compares them to two Old Testament cities; Tyre and Sidon were large Phoenician cities on the Mediterranean, not far away, and often denounced by Old Testament prophets for their Baal worship (Isaiah 23, see notes; Ezekiel 26:28, see notes; Joel 3:4, see notes; Amos 1:9-10, see notes; Zechariah 9:2-4, see notes). Of course, Jesus knew their hearts and the nature of their rejection despite all the miracles that had been done in that region. With all the miraculous events that Jesus had manifested before them, the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida still remained attached to their old dead-end religion rather than to receive the Messiah's message of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34, see notes). Therefore, Jesus passed judgment upon them. As a matter of fact, that judgment message is extremely severe when he proclaims in verse 24, "But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you." Whoa! Sodom! For the full implications of that condemnation, click here to read the notes on Genesis 19 (see notes).
Jesus extends an invitation (Matthew 11:25-30)
|25 ¶ At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus begins to pray, thanking God for the fact that everyday people (not the Jewish leaders) are receiving the Word. Pay close attention to verse 27, "...Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." In other words, the only way to God today is through Jesus. That's exactly what Jesus said in John 14:6 (see notes), "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" Then Jesus extends a familiar invitation in verses 28-30. To whom is the invitation extended? Look at verse 28, "...all you who labor and are heavy laden..." We see here that Jesus is making a special appeal to those who are not the Jewish leaders. As we saw in the previous verses (20-24), those Jewish leaders had rejected Jesus.
Jesus rebukes the semi-hospitable Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50)
Mary Magdalene is NOT the woman in this passage!
|36 ¶ Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.
37 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,
38 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.
39 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.”
40 ¶ And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” ¶ So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 ¶ “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 ¶ Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” ¶ And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”
44 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.
45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.
46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.
47 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.”
48 ¶ Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 ¶ And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 ¶ Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
This Pharisee's name is Simon. He invites Jesus over for a meal. While at his house, a stranger, a woman from the city, shows up with a box of ointment. Verse 38 says, "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." To Simon the Pharisee, this is not only a strange sight, but a terribly inappropriate action as well, but not for the reasons that pop into our heads (it was a cultural thing). He thinks that Jesus, if he's really a prophet, should know the sinful condition of this woman and that she has no business making any contact with a righteous prophet. Simon gets a lesson in forgiveness, but not one to which a Pharisee is going to be very open. That lesson is that both Simon and the woman are sinners, but because the woman perceives her sin and the Pharisee ignores his own, she is, in fact, the one who is most grateful for forgiveness. Whoa! So how does this Pharisee take to the idea of being referred to as a sinner here? Well, because Jesus uses a parable to make the point, the Pharisee is not able to actually say that Jesus called him a sinner.
You will notice that Jesus forgives this woman's sins. What brought about this forgiveness, her actions? NO! Notice verse 50, "Your faith has saved you." It just so happens that her actions were a demonstration of her faith. Likewise, our actions should always be a demonstration of our faith.
Incidentally, don't confuse this anointing/hair occasion with that of Mary, the sister of Lazarus (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-11, see notes). That takes place much later, just prior to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Another false identification that is common regarding this woman is that she was Mary Magdalene. It is further conjectured that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. That misguided deduction is based upon the fact that she is mentioned in Mark 16:9 (see notes), "Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons." A similar reference is found in Luke 8:2 (see notes), "and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons." Being possessed with devils cannot be linked to prostitution in that verse. Although we are not told the symptoms of her demon possession, in all likelihood it was manifested with severe physical ailments and not a depraved lifestyle.
So, who first proposed that this "sinner" woman was Mary Magdalene? Actually, it was the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory I who identified this Luke 7 woman as Mary Magdalene in a sermon back in 591 A.D. There is absolutely NO reason to believe that this woman was Mary Magdalene. We first see Mary in Luke 8:2 (see notes). There, she is a follower of Jesus along with other women. Let's face it: Pope Gregory blew the call. As a result, however, there are a host of Christians today who are convinced that this woman in Luke 7 was a prostitute, and that she is one in the same with Mary Magdalene.