ABSTRACT: Almost Immediately
after Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount and then the sermon on the plain
he encounters the Centurion in
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In Matthew 5 through 7 Jesus sits
and teaches the Sermon on the Mount. This is probably taught to Jews in
Aramaic. This is immediately followed by Jesus standing for the sermon on the
plain where Jesus teaches Gentiles almost certainly in Greek (Luke 6:17-49).
After completing this second talk Jesus enters
What the Scripture Says
Matthew 7:28-29 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 Because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Matthew 8:1-13 when he
came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with
leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can
make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am
willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. 4 Then
Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to
the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 5 When
Jesus had entered
Luke 7:1-9 When Jesus
had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered
The Beatitudes Focusing on the Centurion
Matthew 5:1-16 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 And he began to teach them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Centurion did not consider himself worthy to have Jesus come into his home. He was not Jewish so according to the Pharisees interpretation his house would have defiled Jesus.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Mourn—He was concerned about his servant who was paralyzed and in terrible pain. It was his mourning for his servant that triggered this whole incident.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Meekness—tameness—easily led—controllable as a stallion charging into battle does it follow the instructions of it rider. If it does without hesitation then it is meek. He was a man under authority so presumably he does what he was told as he expects those under him to do what they are told. The Greeks value meekness highly as long as there is a compensating strength.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Many of the Jews
hate the Romans—but here we have the Jewish synagogue leaders pleading the
centurion’s cause because he was such a good guy. He was obviously some one
hungering after righteousness. He was responsible for the financing of the
building of the synagogue in
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Merciful—is an attitude arising out of a mutual relationship in this case for example a master and servant. This is a kindness owed in mutual relationships. The Hebrew is hesed—loving kindness—covenant mercy—the mercy that God extends to us. The centurion was concerned for his servant who was paralyzed and in terrible suffering.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
This could also be translated clean of heart. The Jews looked down at gentiles because they were unclean, that is they did not follow the Jewish cleanliness laws. This describes a man who was clean on the inside in his heart much like being circumcised in heart is better than being circumcised in body. He did not consider himself worthy to come to Jesus and so he did not meet Jesus, but he would see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
job of a centurion was to maintain the peace. He was soldier trying to prevent
terrorism. The Sacarii were assassins or terrorist that wandered
He controlled to the point they were greatly concerned for his needs.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
soldiers were persecuted by the terrorists for maintaining the peace. That is
much as the
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
The centurion by his actions made
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
All who encountered this centurion saw the good he did and the attitude that he had.
Jesus says we are not to lay up treasure where moth and rust can destroy—this centurion was investing his money in building a synagogue a house were the Jews could worship.
The time and place of Jesus’
encounter with the centurion was ordained by God for our instruction. This
centurion was there as an illustration of the message of the beatitudes in the Sermon
on the Mount that Jesus had just taught. Jesus was new to