A Roman officer’s servant (Matthew 8: 5–13)

Matthew’s main theme was universalism.

This miracle is an example of Jesus’ inclusion of everyone as he heals the servant of a Roman officer.

This was a challenging miracle for the Jewish people as they believed that the Jews were God’s chosen people. The Roman officer was a Gentile, but he may have been interested in Judaism.

The Roman officer was a kind man as he cared about his servants. Many others would not have cared as slaves and servants had no rights. If a servant was ill there was usually no help for them.

The officer was in a high position in the army and he was used to giving orders and commands to others. He knows that Jesus has authority, even greater authority than himself as Jesus’ authority comes from God.

Jesus was very impressed with the officer’s faith and compassion. He said, “I have never found anyone in Israel with faith like this.”

Jesus was saying that the Roman officer’s faith was greater than the faith of Jewish people. As a result the servant was healed (from a distance).

Jesus talks about the messianic banquet and uses this image to explain that theKingdom of God will be open to both Jews and Gentiles.

He shockingly said that there will be people who will be rejected from the Kingdom. This would have surprised Jewish listeners as they expected entrance to the Kingdom of God because they were born Jewish. Jesus emphasises that one must have genuine faith to enter the Kingdom of God.