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The story of The Centurion of Capernaum is a story portraying the faithfulness of a centurion and the goodness of Jesus.

The story helps us grasp the uniqueness and differences in each gospel. The gospels are Matthew, Luke, and John, and each have a different focus on this passage. Mark does not include this story in his book because his main focus is on stories that strengthen the persecuted Christians. Within each gospel there are similarities between each book, and contrast. The gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John have similarities and differences . In all of these gospels, they contain the basics of the story- a centurion needs help because his daughter is dying and by God's goodness his daughter is saved and the centurion shows great faith. The passage starts off with two different openings. In Matthew and John the centurion comes to Jesus begging him to heal his slave. In Luke, it says that he sent elders to ask Jesus for his help. In addition, in John it does not use the word centurion, but official and it is not a slave that is ill but the official's son. Matthew and Luke share a similar account after the opening. In Luke it says, "...for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof,"1 and in Matthew it says, "I am not worthy to have you come under my roof."2 Both books also share details that show the centurion's faith and his understanding. For example in Luke it says, "But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority..."3 These books go on to say that Jesus was amazed by his faith. In Matthew and Luke they share a speech that Jesus said to the people that followed him. The speech opens up the same way by saying that he not seen such faith in Israel. It changes after that because Matthew says, "I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham.."4, and Luke says, " In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham.."5 The beginning and end of this speech is reversed in this passage. Matthew ends by saying that the servant was healed that very moment while in Luke they returned home and found that she was well. John's account of this story is very different. He mentions that the official begged him to heal his son. Jesus replies to this by saying, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."6 Contrasting to the other verses the official wants Jesus to come to his house for his son to be healed. Similar to the other books the official shows faith in Jesus when he says his son is healed and leaves. John makes sure to add in that the official knew that the hour his son was healed was the same that Jesus said he was healed, and that was the second sign that Jesus had done since he had come from Judea to Galilee.

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Luke 7. 6 Matt. 8. 8 3 Luke 7. 8 4 Matt 8. 11 5 Luke 13. 28 6 John 4. 48

The details that Matthew includes in his Gospel, and keeps out show his main focus of the book. Matthew explicitly tells how bad the slaves condition is. He does this to show how powerful Jesus is and that he is the Son of God and the fulfillment of the old testament. The centurion said, "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."7 Matthew makes sure to add this conversation the centurion had with Jesus to emphasis that the centurion was a faithful man and understood that Jesus was all powerful. The key detail that Matthew includes to get his point across is the order of Jesus' speech in this passage. He makes sure to have, "I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven"8 and then, "while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."9 Matthew has those words first to show that the gentiles are entering into God's covenant, and to put the main focus on that if the Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, they will end up in Hell. He did this because he writing to the Jews. Luke gives the most detailed summary of the story of the Centurion of Capernaum. He adds in many more details. An example of this is, "When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue."10 Luke wrote his passage geared toward the gentiles. By having this story in his book it shows that gentiles are welcomed to God's covenant. The order that Luke put Jesus' speech in his book further adds to this point. By having, "And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God,"11 at the end of Jesus' speech it put the focus on Gentiles entering the kingdom of God while not focusing on the covenant because the covenant would mean nothing to the gentiles and more for the Jews. John takes a whole different twist on this story. He focuses on a motif that occurs many times throughout his book and the divinity of Christ. The motif is that people always want to see miracles from Jesus and when they do they never believe. This is expressed when John says, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."12 Furthermore, John adds to the focus of signs by saying, "This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea

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Matt 8. 9 Matt 8. 11 9 Matt 8. 12-13 10 Luke 7 3-5 11 Luke 13. 29 12 John 4. 48

to Galilee."13 John intentionally puts in this detail to get his point across, and to show God's divinity. Matthew, Luke, and John each use the story of the Centurion of Capernaum to get a different point across. Matthew uses it to show the Jews that faithful gentiles are entering the covenant of God. Luke uses it to portray that Gentiles can go to the kingdom of God through God's goodness; and John wrote the book to convey a motif and to show Jesus' divinity.


John 4. 54