At the conclusion of His discourse Jesus went into Capernaum. While there, some Jewish elders came to the Lord to ask help for a Roman centurion. This centurion was kind to the Jews, even building a synagogue for them.
Like all centurions in the New Testament he is presented in a good light. See Luke 23:47 and Acts 10:1-48.
When the centurion’s servant took sick, he asked the Jews to ask Jesus to heal him. This was quite a predicament for the Jews, because they did not believe in Jesus.
They said that he was “worthy.” Verse 4.
When he met Jesus, he said, “I am not worthy.” Verse 6.
Note the humility and faith of the centurion. Verse 7. He did not consider himself worthy enough for Jesus to enter his house. He did not consider himself worthy enough to come to Jesus in person. He believed that Jesus could heal without being bodily present.
Verse 8 This verse is a wonderful admission of Christ’s power. He said, I am under the authority of the Roman government and I carry out their orders immediately. The soldiers under my command obey me instantly.
In saying these things he was recognizing the Lord’s authority over disease, in other words he was saying, “Just speak the word and my servant will be made whole.”
This was faith at its highest and best. Jesus marveled at him. No one in Israel had made such a bold confession of Jesus’ absolute authority. Such faith could not go unrewarded. When the centurion returned home, he found his servant completely restored.
This is one of two times in the Gospel’s where we read that “Jesus marveled.”
1. He marveled at the faith of the Gentile centurion.
2. He marveled at the unbelief of Israel. Mark 6:6.
Verses 11-17 The raising of the widow’s son.
Nain was a small village south-west of Capernaum. According to Luke this is the Lord’s first encounter in the realm of death. He had already shown His power over demons and disease. Now He shows His complete mastery over death. He had compassion on the weeping mother, who was a widow.
Jesus stopped the funeral procession, touched the frame on which the body was being carried. Ordered him to arise - he immediately sat up - began to speak. Jesus then delivered him to his surprised but happy mother. Great fear came upon all who witnessed this scene. They glorified God. They felt He was working in their midst. They believed that Jesus was a great prophet.
Dr. Luke’s case-book records Jesus’ restoration of three “only children.” The widow’s son—Jairus’ daughter 8:42—child possessed with demons 9:38.
Verses 18-36 Jesus communicates with and commends John the Baptist.
News filters through to John the Baptist in prison of the miracles Jesus was performing.
Verse 19 John sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah.
This incident shows the weakness of the flesh. The best of men suffer brief lapses of faith. Physical oppression can lead to mental depression.
Jesus answered their question by allowing them to see the miracles He performed. Verses 21-22.
Now He says to them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard.”
Verse 23 The Postscript—this could be considered a rebuke to John. Or an appeal to him not to abandon his faith.
Verses 24-35 Jesus praises John.
John was more than a prophet. Verse 26.
He was the messenger of God. Verse 27.
He was the greatest of all the prophets. Verse 28.
He was accepted by the people and tax collectors.
He was rejected by the Pharisees and lawyers.
Jesus likened this group to children playing in the street, not wanting to play either wedding or funeral.
John gave them an example of austerity, and self-denial. They did not like this—they criticized him and said he was demon possessed.
Jesus, on the other hand, identified Himself in a normal way with the common people including publicans and sinners.
The Pharisees were unhappy about this - they called Him a glutton and a wine-drinker.
We see from this discourse the impossibility of pleasing everyone. Verse 35 “But wisdom is justified by all her children.” Wisdom here represents Christ. The followers of Christ are wisdom’s children. Even though Christ is rejected by the masses, His true followers will vindicate His claims by lives of love, holiness and devotedness.
Verses 36-39 Jesus anointed.
This incident illustrates wisdom being justified by one of her children. When God cannot get religious leaders to appreciate Christ, He will get harlots to do so.
Jesus is invited to Simon the Pharisee’s house for a meal. A sinful woman appeared in the room at the same time. She brought an alabaster flask of perfume with her.
As Jesus reclined on a couch, eating, His head near the table. She stood at His feet and wept, washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. She also kissed them repeatedly, and anointed them with the costly perfume. This is sacrifice and worship at its highest. Nothing was too good for Jesus.
Verses 40-50 The parable of the two debtors.
Simon’s attitude was altogether different. He felt that prophets and Pharisees should be separate from sinners. If Jesus were a prophet, he concluded, he would not have allowed this sinful woman to have touched Him.
At this point Jesus told the story of the money lender who had two debtors. One owed $50.00, the other $5.00. When neither of them could repay, he cancelled their debts. Jesus now asked Simon which of these men would love him the most. Simon answered correctly: “The one to whom the most was forgiven.” In answering this, Simon condemned himself, as Jesus proceeded to show him. Since entering Simon’s house the woman had poured out her affection and love on Him. She washed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. She also kissed His feet repeatedly, and anointed His head with oil. This was an expression of appreciation and devoted love by the woman, to the Lord, for the blessing of forgiveness of her sins.
On the other hand, Simon had not even extended the common courtesies to the Lord, showing little appreciation or love. He and his colleagues remained unmoved - aloof and unsaved. The woman’s sins were forgiven through her faith in Christ. The action of the woman is worship at its highest and best.