8:1 When he came down from the mountainside [after the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:1–7:29)], large crowds followed him.
8:2 A man with leprosy [cf. Lev. 13-14 re: instructions about skin diseases; lepers were required to keep a certain distance from others (they had to call out “unclean” to warn others of their approach as per Lev. 13:45) and prohibited from participation in social and religious activities] came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing [the leper believed that Jesus could heal him], you can make me clean [cleansing meant that this man would be restored to his family and could again participate in the social and religious life of his town].”
8:3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched [Jewish law prohibited touching lepers (Lev. 5:3; 13:1-46; Num. 5:2); possible that no one had touched this man in years; Jesus moved in the direction of people in need] the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy [indicates complete restoration of health rather than just a remission; healing lepers a sign of Messiah’s arrival (Matt. 11:5)].
8:4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone [lest doing so create a hindrance to Jesus’ ministry and cause others to seek Jesus for the wrong reasons]. But go, show yourself to the priest [as per instructions in Lev. 14] and offer the gift [Lev. 14:2-32] Moses commanded, as a testimony to them [to those who witnessed the healing and to the priest].”
8:5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum [large city located on northwestern shore of Sea of Galilee], a centurion [Roman military office in charge of 100 men] came to him, asking for help.
8:6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant [“whom his master valued highly” (Lk. 7:2)] lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
8:7 Jesus said to him [Jesus affirmed His willingness to help…], “I will go and heal him.”
8:8 The centurion replied, “Lord [shows centurion’s respect for Jesus], I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word [shows centurion’s unconditional trust in Jesus; Jesus did not need medicines or rituals or even to be present in order to heal], and my servant will be healed.
8:9 For I myself am a man under authority [centurion understood what it meant to obey others as well as to be obeyed by those under his command], with soldiers under me. I tell this one [Roman soldiers were trained to obey orders unquestioningly], ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
8:10 When Jesus heard this, he was astonished [cf. Mk. 6:6 where Jesus was “amazed” at the lack of faith of the Jews] and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith [cf. the “great faith” of the Canaanite woman whose daughter Jesus delivered from demon-possession (at a distance as in the case of the centurion’s servant); cf. Jn. 4:46-54 re: Jesus healing the son of a royal official at a distance].
8:11 I say to you that many [not limited by geographic, ethnic, cultural, racial, or national considerations; Jews and Gentiles] will come from the east and the west [beyond the borders of Israel], and will take their places at the feast [banquet table of God’s Messiah (cf. Isa. 25:6-9 re: imagery of such a celebration)] with [note patriarchs of the Hebrew people…] Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
8:12 But the subjects [or sons] of the kingdom [a common self-identifying idiom for the Jews’ belief that they were part of God’s covenant by birth] will be thrown outside [Jesus emphasized that salvation was not a matter of birthright but a right-birth—being born-again (Jn. 3:7)], into [note description of hell…] the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth [this phrase occurs six times in Matthew’s gospel (cf. 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30)].”
8:13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed [Jesus exercised authority over disease] at that very hour [at the precise moment Jesus spoke these words].