(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
(23) Healing The Centurion’s Servant At Capernaum
“….Jesus …..was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”
The centurion, showed a genuine concern for a slave that he “valued highly”, he was greatly admired by the Jews, heard of Jesus and sent some Jewish elders to Jesus requesting Him to heal his slave; he did not want Jesus to enter his house possibly because he was aware of the rabbinical law that restricted Jews from entering a gentile’s house which would make them ceremonially unclean, or it could have meant that he was aware of his own moral uncleanness and of Jesus’ holiness ; but whatever was his reason he had enough faith to believe that Jesus only had to “say the word” and his slave would be healed. Jesus’ astonishment at the centurion’s response was not due to the fact that He did not know that the centurion would have reacted in this way, but rather a comment that as a gentile he showed greater faith than the Jews – “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” .
(24) Raising The Widow’s Son At Nain
“Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out– the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.”
Upon entering the town of Nain (southwest of Nazareth in the Galilean region), Jesus sees a coffin, being carried out for burial, containing the “only son of his mother” who was a widow, no doubt this son was the only support his mother had and now he is gone and Luke records that Jesus’ “heart went out to her” and in compassion Jesus raises her son from the dead . This is the first of three recorded instances of Jesus raising the dead . In response, the people praised God and responded “A great prophet has appeared among us….God has come to help his people”, possibly because they related this incident with that of Elijah and Elisha .
(25) A Delegation Of John’s Disciples Sent To Jesus
“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:”
Although John (the last of the OT prophets) had been sent by God to announce the arrival of Messiah, he begins to wonder if Jesus is the Messiah; considering the fact that he has been imprisoned, and that Messiah has not yet delivered His people from Roman rule. Jesus responds by telling the disciples to go back to John and report “what you hear and see” – certain characteristics of the Messiah that were predicted by the prophets including “the good news is preached to the poor”
(26) Jesus’ Commendation Of John The Baptist
“But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'”
John was more than a prophet, he was the one sent to announce the arrival of Messiah, and Messiah’s preaching was acknowledged by “all the people…that God’s way was right…But the Pharisees…rejected God’s purpose…”, because the people had been baptized by John while the Pharisees rejected John’s baptism. Jesus then compares their generation to children playing the wedding flute to which there is no dancing, and singing a funeral dirge to which there is no crying; explaining that John came “neither eating bread nor drinking wine and you say, ‘He has a demon’. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners’ ” . Wisdom is thus proved right by the results – although unbelievers may slander Him, Jesus is vindicated in His works and the lives of His followers; His claims are completely verified by His miracles and spiritual transformation of His disciples – unbelief will always find excuses and justify criticism of God’s servants.
(27) Jesus Denounces The Cities Of Galilee
“Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.”
Jesus came to preach the good news of salvation to all people, and this He faithfully executed in His words and deeds of miracles, leaving no one in His audience without exposure to the righteousness of God <see Rom. 1:1 – 2:16; “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Throughout the ages mankind has been exposed to the fact of an eternal and ever-powerful God, but have rejected Him and have refused to acknowledge Him; “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities– his eternal power and divine nature– have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” . Therefore, no one is excused and all mankind will have to answer for the truth that has been revealed to each one and on the day of judgment “God will give to each person according to what he has done” .
So Jesus denounces the cities of Galilee for not repenting of their sins and accepting the claims of the gospel He had preached to them; comparing them to the cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom that had come under the judgment of God for their ungodliness and sins and their failure to repent, adding that “it will be more bearable…” – indicating that there may be degrees of punishment in relation to the exposure to the truth that one receives, just as there will be degrees of rewards for those who enter heaven .
It must be understood, however, that no matter what the degree of punishment may be, separation from God in Hell for all eternity is the condemnation for all those who reject the message of the gospel, and should be cause for all people to carefully weigh the cost of acceptance or rejection of the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ as presented in His gospel.