What does Matthew 8:7 mean?
ESV: And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
NIV: Jesus said to him, 'Shall I come and heal him?'
NASB: Jesus *said to him, 'I will come and heal him.'
CSB: He said to him, "Am I to come and heal him? "
NLT: Jesus said, 'I will come and heal him.'
KJV: And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
A Roman centurion has approached Jesus with a message that one of his servants is paralyzed and suffering. He is near death. We know from Luke's report on this incident (Luke 7:1–10) that the centurion had great respect for the Jewish people and their customs. He had clearly heard about Jesus and all the remarkable healings He had done in the region.
Jesus does not hesitate. He says He will come and heal the servant. Some translations take the Greek phrasing here as a question where Jesus asks if He should come and heal the servant. Luke tells us that Jesus set out in the direction of the centurion's house.
Once again, Jesus seems willing to break from Jewish cultural conventions. Jewish people in that era had extended commands not to participate in certain activities with Gentiles. That even included not ever entering a Gentile person's home. Jesus seems unconcerned with following this standard. Out of respect for Jesus, and in personal humility, it seems the Roman centurion had no intention of asking such a thing of Christ (Matthew 8:8).
Matthew 8:5–13 describes Jesus' response to the request of a Roman centurion in Capernaum. The Gentile officer has a servant who is paralyzed and suffering greatly. The centurion says that Jesus does not even need to come to his home, but that He can heal the man with a word. As a man with authority, this soldier recognizes Christ's right to command, even with respect to healing. Jesus applauds this faith, and notes that many Gentiles will be in the kingdom of heaven, along with the Jewish patriarchs. Not all Israelites will be included, however. Jesus tells the Roman officer his servant has been healed.
Matthew begins a series of stories revealing Jesus' authority over sickness, demons, and even the weather. Jesus heals a humble man with leprosy and great faith. He then heals the servant of a Roman centurion who understands that Jesus does not need to come to his home; He can just speak a word. Jesus praises the Gentile man's amazing faith. After healing many more, Jesus and the disciples get caught in a deadly storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus stops the storm with a word. Later, He casts demons out of two men and into a huge herd of pigs.
Matthew 8 follows the conclusion of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–2). He turns to telling a series of dramatic stories to show Jesus' power and authority over every kind of disease, over demons, and even over the weather. Jesus also gives brief teachings about the hard road of following Him on earth. He calms a violent storm with a single command and casts demons from two violently possessed men. Matthew will focus mostly on miracles until shifting focus to Jesus' teachings and parables in chapter 11.
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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