Jesus and the Centurion (Lost Sheep Series)

Did Jesus come only for the lost sheep of Israel?
Let us continue with more proof that Muslims ignore the context of Jesus' statement in Matthew 15 to support their claim for the universal prophethood of their leader, Muhammad.
In all four Gospels, Jesus complements only two people for their great faith. Both of them were Gentiles. The story of one of these exemplars of faith is found in Matthew 8, where we read about a Roman Centurion who has come humbly to Jesus to seek His help:
5 When He entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,

6 “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony!”

7 “I will come and heal him,” He told him.

8 “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But only say the word, and my servant will be cured.

9 For I too am a man under authority, having soldiers under my command. I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”

10 Hearing this, Jesus was amazed and said to those following Him, “I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith!

11 I tell you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

12 But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And his servant was cured that very moment.

  The man's declaration of faith that Jesus could heal his servant was not just surprising coming from a Gentile, but Jesus even calls it extraordinary faith. And with good reason. The man understood that Jesus' power was such that His Presence was not even required for the healing to take place.

  Somehow he knew that Jesus would not have to touch the man, or even be in the same room with him. The Roman knew that all Jesus had to do was speak the word, and his servant would be healed. 

  Read those words again slowly: he knew that Jesus had only to speak a word, and his servant would be well again. Only One has that kind of power over disease, the very same One Who could walk on water and calm the storm. Again, simply by speaking it into stillness.

  In his commentary on this passage, Bible scholar John Gill writes that Jesus' response to the man...

  "... is a clear proof of our Lord's divinity: for had he not been truly God, he would have rebuked, and not have commended this man's faith in him: who ascribed that power to him, which is peculiar to God..."
  Note as well that Jesus was fully aware that the man was a Gentile and that He would be making Himself ritually unclean by entering his  home, yet the Lord was untroubled by this. To make things even worse in the eyes of the legalistic Pharisees, the centurion was a Gentile who was also an officer in the military force that had been oppressing the Jewish nation for almost a century (and who would continue to do so for another 300 years). And yet Jesus had no qualms about coming to his aid.

  So why didn't Jesus tell this man, "I was sent only to the Lost Sheep of Israel?"

  As we have shown in our two previous posts, Jesus came for all mankind: to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile. But Jesus had a knack for turning what might have been ordinary events in His life into moments which would teach generations of His followers not just Who He was, but who we can be when we are around Him. And that was wonderfully demonstrated by the centurion who showed us humility, great love and compassion for others and, most importantly, God-honoring faith.

  But our lesson doesn't end there. 

  After commending the centurion's great faith, Jesus delivered a stinging rebuke to His Lost Sheep, lamenting the fact that no one in Israel -- in short, no Jew -- had shown greater faith than this Gentile. The Christ then went on to address the Muslim contention head on as He said:

11 I tell you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

  Jesus announced quite clearly that many would come from outside of Israel, outside of the Lost Sheep, people from among the Gentiles who would join the Jewish patriarchs in heaven, while some from among the Jews would be cast out of the Kingdom because of their lack of faith.

  So does God play favorites and save only Jews?

  Absolutely not. He sent us Jesus to demonstrate that He came to save all who will believe in Him. 

  Jesus had this to say to some hard-hearted Jews He was speaking with:

24 "Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8

  What about you, dear reader? Do you believe that Jesus is Who He says He is?

Jesus is Lord!
     See also:

  Did Messiah Come Only for the Lost Sheep of Israel? (Lost Sheep Series)

  Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (Lost Sheep Series)

How Has the Bible Changed Through the Millennia?

  Without providing much in the way of evidence, Muslim critics of the Bible claim that the Bible has undergone so many revisions over the last 19 centuries that we can no longer tell what it originally said. Is this true?

  Here is a screenshot of the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16, in the Codex Sinaiticus, which is dated at around 330AD:

  Here is that same Koine Greek text:

John 3:16 οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸνμονογενῆ ἔδωκεν ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃζωὴν αἰώνιον. GNT (Greek New Testament)

  If we were to translate the above verse literally word for word, it would read this way:

  "thus for loves the God the world so that the Son of Him the only unique He gives that every the one believing into Him no should be perishing but may be having life eonian."

As we have explained in a previous post, this is why translation becomes necessary. This word soup results because, obviously, English grammar is different from Greek grammar. That is why we need scholars to do the translation for us into English or any other language. The Bible can be translated into any other language in the world and still be considered the Word of God. Unlike the Quran, which Muslims say is only the word of Allah when it is in its original classical Arabic, which only 16% of the world's Muslims can understand.

  So let's take a look and see how English Bible versions have changed over the last 5 centuries, even as the language itself has evolved into today's 21st century English. The names of the Bible versions are followed by their dates of publication:

Tyndale Bible (1526)
For God so loveth the worlde yt he hath geven his only sonne that none that beleve in him shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe.

Geneva Bible (1557)
For God so loveth the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Douay-Rheims Bible (1582)

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. 

King James Bible (1600s)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Webster's Bible Translation (1833)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.

English Revised Version (1881)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Darby Bible Translation (1890)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternally.

Young's Literal Translation (1898)
for God did so love the world, that His Son -- the only begotten -- He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during.

American Standard Version (1901)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Weymouth New Testament (1903)

For so greatly did God love the world that He gave His only Son, that every one who trusts in Him may not perish but may have the Life of Ages.

New International Version (1973)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

New American Standard Bible (1995)

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

International Standard Version (1998)

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in him might not be lost but have eternal life. 

Holman Christian Standard Bible (1999)

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 

English Standard Version (2001)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

New Living Translation (2004)
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

  So there is the evidence. The only major difference between the versions after 478 years of English translations (from 1526 to 2004) is in their translation of that one word "τὸνμονογενῆ" which, transliterated, is "monogenes."

  What does the Greek word "monogenes" mean? 

  It means "pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind," which is how our first English translation, the Tyndale, and our modern translations are now rendering it. 

  While Muslims are quick to pounce on the word "begotten" in the older translations of this verse, they do so purely out of ignorance, as they take it to mean that Jesus was the product of sex between God and Mary, even the thought of which is blasphemous to Christians. The Bible teaches no such thing, and neither did the Early Church. Scripture is clear from beginning to end that the Son of God, Himself God, is eternal, not created.

  In response to our Muslim critics then, we can say that Bible translations have remained true to the original Hebrew and Greek texts, despite the passage of millennia.

  It is just as our Lord and Master, Jesus the Christ, said:

  "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away." Matthew 24:35

  See also:

  Comparing the Bible and Quranic Manuscripts

  Much of the Quran is Gone!

  Lost in Transmission?

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (Lost Sheep Series)

  In John 4 we find yet another example of Jesus coming not just for the Lost Sheep of Israel, but for the rest of the world as well.

  In this passage, Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman, a Gentile. As Jesus speaks to her, He makes a clear distinction between them saying, "you Samaritans" and "us Jews." 

  The Samaritans and the Jews hated each other and would never be seen talking to one another, but here Jesus has gone out of His way to make what would be nothing less than a Divine Appointment.

  Jesus began His ministry to the woman by addressing her past as well as what was going on in her life at that moment. And that is how she knew that this was no ordinary man. He was, at the very least, a prophet. But He was there to tell her much more.

Woman at the Well
by Simon Dewey

21 Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 

22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. 

23 But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. 

24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”

26 “I am He,” Jesus told her, “the One speaking to you.”

  The Christ continues to make the distinction between Samaritans and Jews in this passage, but the woman's response tells us that it was not just the Jews who were awaiting the coming of the Messiah, but the Samaritans, too. 

  In His reply, Jesus tells her more than she may be expecting. Yes, He tells her He is that One, the Messiah, but He has also done a little bit of... shall we call it "Divine Name-Dropping" to reveal, not just to her,  but to us as well, Who He really is.

  Christian apologist and theologian Dr. James White writes:
"In [John] 4:26 Jesus says to the woman at the well, "I am, the one speaking to you" (ego eimi, ho lalon soi) which is strangely reminiscent of the LXX rendering of Isaiah 52:6 (ego eimi autos ho lalon)."
  What does Yahweh say in Isaiah 52:6?

 6 "Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, ‘Here I am.’” NASB

  This is perhaps why the Orthodox Jewish Bible uses the Divine Name in its rendering of John 4:26,

26 "Yehoshua says to her, Ani Hu (I am He), the one speaking to you." OJB

  So Jesus has told her, not just that He is the Messiah, but also that He is "Ani Hu," Yahweh God of the Bible. "Ego Eimi" in the Greek. 
But we have not quite forgotten the other point of this article in all our excitement. Here's the clincher:

John 4

39 Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” 

40 Therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. 

41 Many more believed because of what He said.

42 And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”

  The Savior of the world, they called Him. Where many had already begun to believe in Yeshua, Jesus, through the testimony of the Samaritan woman, many more became His followers from among the Samaritans through His teaching.

  In echoing the words of Isaiah 52:6, Jesus was saying that these Samaritan believers were among His People, those who would know His name. He was also fulfilling "the Law and the Prophets," just as He said He would in Matthew 5:17.

  This passage from John 4 shows us yet another passage in which Jesus says that He is God, but it also proves that He did not come only for the Lost Sheep of Israel.

Jesus is Lord!  

  With thanks to Arshavin S. for leading us to a discussion of this verse. May you soon come to deeply and personally know this Yeshua of Whom we speak, brother!

  More proof still to come in the next part of our Lost Sheep of Israel series.

  See also:

  Purpose and Meaning of "Ego Eimi" in the Gospel of John
In Reference to the Deity of Christ, by James White 

  Wise Men Still Seek Him!

  Did Messiah Come Only for the Lost Sheep of Israel? (Lost Sheep Series)

Did Messiah Come Only for the Lost Sheep of Israel? (Lost Sheep Series)

  Who did the Torah, the Psalms and the Prophets say the Messiah was coming for? 

  Was He coming only for the Lost Sheep of Israel, as Muslims claim? 

  Or did He come for other sheep as well, as Jesus Himself said in John 10?

16 "But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd." John 10

  Of course, we have much more than just one verse in John 10 to make the case that Jesus did not come only for the lost sheep of Israel. This is the first of a multi-part series that will cover some of the  Scriptural evidence. 

  We begin with a passage from Romans 15. In just 6 verses of that chapter, Paul cites the Old Testament 4 times to teach us that Messiah was sent for all mankind. (The verses from Romans 15 are in bold print while the Old Testament quotes are in italics):

Romans 15

 7 Therefore accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God. 

 8 For I say that the Messiah became a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises to the fathers, 

 9 and so that Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy. As it is written:

   Therefore I will praise You among the Gentiles,
   and I will sing psalms to Your name. 
"Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing about Your name." 2 Samuel 22:50
Romans 15

10 Again it says: Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people! 
"Rejoice, you nations, concerning His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants." Deuteronomy 32:43
Romans 15

11 And again:
    Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
    all the peoples should praise Him!
"Praise the Lord, all nations! Glorify Him, all peoples!" Psalm 117:1
Romans 15

12 And again, Isaiah says:
    The root of Jesse will appear,
    the One who rises to rule the Gentiles;
    the Gentiles will hope in Him.
"On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will seek Him..." Isaiah 11:10
  Beginning with verses that are thousands of years old, Scripture shows us again and again that God's plan was clearly to save all of mankind, not just His Chosen People, the Jews. 

  Today, just as Isaiah prophesied almost 2,800 years ago, Jesus the Messiah stands as a banner for the nations, a beacon of light in an increasingly dark and evil world.

  Have you put your hope in Him? We pray you will do so now, while there is still time.

  Even more proof that Jesus came for us in the next part of this series.

  See also:

  Who is the Good Shepherd? by Chris Terry

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