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When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with 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.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. -Matthew 8:5-13

Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.

Jesus is incredibly, unexpectedly gracious, and merciful.

He has room for the outsider and the outcast. Filthy lepers and Roman dogs are all welcomed into Christ’s arms. On the other hand, the life of the insider, brimming with pharisaical self-confidence, is bound for the outside in the terror of darkness.

Salvation by Circumstance?

But don’t get the story wrong. Entrance into Christ’s Kingdom is not set aside for lepers and Romans by their being lepers and Romans. And Christ does not reject Pharisees simply based on religious affiliation. The point is not that. Salvation is not based on one’s ethnicity or health or the level of rejection one faces from society (though Jesus does have a special affinity for the downcast). And salvation not found in your ability to judge from a religious high ground or quote Bible verses or by being approved by others.

The point is that Christ makes clear a universal truth set from the foundation of the world. The truth is that the only hope anyone will ever have is found in the arms of Jesus, outcast and insider alike. Lepers do not find the lifeline of Christ based on their situation. Romans are not clothed in Christ’s righteousness for being Roman. Only Jesus will make them clean. Amazingly, in this passage the Centurion sees and believes. What faith!

Global Implications of this Salvation

As Pastor Mike shared, in this passage, “God has his eye, not just on Israel but on the nations.” The nations will be saved only through faith in Jesus. Also, God has his eye on the outsider, and the outsider will be saved only through faith in Christ. Salvation is found only, exclusively in Jesus. As Peter once said, “…there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Jesus is incredibly, unexpectedly gracious and merciful. And He is exclusively welcoming the sick, good, and evil alike through the door of Himself, the door of faith.

Where Do We Go from Here?

1. Lay your life, your all on His perfect righteousness, through faith. He is the door. He is life (Philippians 1:21). What Christ offers (Himself through faith) confronts and opposes the path of self-confidence (pharisaism) formed by fringe Christianity and comfort-seeking church life and practice. Trust in Christ’s perfect righteousness.

2. If Christ is the doorway to life for all, how will others discover this message? How will they hear of this great salvation you have, unless someone tells them (Romans 10:14)? How will lepers learn they are sick with a deeper disease than the physical? How will Romans hear that their idols cannot see, hear, or think? How will Pharisees find that their self-righteousness is an abomination leading to damnation? Tell them of him!