Jesus Heals an Army Officer's Servant
(Matthew 8.5-13; John 4.43-54)
1After Jesus had finished teaching the people, he went to Capernaum. 2In this town an army officer's servant was sick and about to die. The officer liked his servant very much. 3And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish leaders to ask him to come and heal the servant.
4The leaders went to Jesus and begged him to do something. They said, “This man deserves your help! 5He loves our nation and even built us a synagogue.” 6So Jesus went with them.
When Jesus wasn't far from the house, the officer sent some friends to tell him, “Lord, don't go to any trouble for me! I am not good enough for you to come into my house. 7And I am certainly not worthy to come to you. Just say the word, and my servant will get well. 8I have officers who give orders to me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, ‘Go!’ and he goes. I can say to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes. I can say to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he will do it.”
9When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the crowd following him, “In all of Israel I've never found anyone with this much faith!”
10The officer's friends returned and found the servant well.
A Widow's Son
11Soon Jesus and his disciples were on their way to the town of Nain, and a big crowd was going along with them. 12As they came near the gate of the town, they saw people carrying out the body of a widow's only son. Many people from the town were walking along with her.
13When the Lord saw the woman, he felt sorry for her and said, “Don't cry!”
14Jesus went over and touched the stretcher on which the people were carrying the dead boy. They stopped, and Jesus said, “Young man, get up!” 15The boy sat up and began to speak. Jesus then gave him back to his mother.
16Everyone was frightened and praised God. They said, “A great prophet is here with us! God has come to his people.”
17News about Jesus spread all over Judea and everywhere else in that part of the country.
John the Baptist
18-19John's followers told John everything that was being said about Jesus. So he sent two of them to ask the Lord, “Are you the one we should be looking for? Or must we wait for someone else?”
20When these messengers came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the one we should be looking for? Or are we supposed to wait for someone else?’ ”
21At that time Jesus was healing many people who were sick or in pain or were troubled by evil spirits, and he was giving sight to a lot of blind people. 22#Is 35.5,6; Is 61.1. Jesus said to the messengers sent by John, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard. Blind people are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People who have leprosy#7.22 leprosy: See the note at 4.27. are being healed, and the deaf can now hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. 23God will bless everyone who doesn't reject me because of what I do.”
24After John's messengers had gone, Jesus began speaking to the crowds about John:
What kind of person did you go out to the desert to see? Was he like tall grass blown about by the wind? 25What kind of man did you really go out to see? Was he someone dressed in fine clothes? People who wear expensive clothes and live in luxury are in the king's palace. 26What then did you go out to see? Was he a prophet? He certainly was! I tell you that he was more than a prophet. 27#Ml 3.1. In the Scriptures, God calls John his messenger and says, “I am sending my messenger ahead of you to get things ready for you.” 28No one ever born on this earth is greater than John. But whoever is least important in God's kingdom is greater than John.
Mt 21.32; Lk 3.12. Everyone had been listening to John. Even the tax collectors#7.29 tax collectors: See the note at 3.12. had obeyed God and had done what was right by letting John baptize them. 30But the Pharisees and the experts in the Law of Moses refused to obey God and be baptized by John.
31Jesus went on to say:
What are you people like? What kind of people are you? 32You are like children sitting in the market and shouting to each other,
“We played the flute,
but you would not dance!
We sang a funeral song,
but you would not cry!”
33John the Baptist did not go around eating and drinking, and you said, “John has a demon in him!” 34But because the Son of Man goes around eating and drinking, you say, “Jesus eats and drinks too much! He is even a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” 35Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what its followers do.
Simon the Pharisee
36A Pharisee invited Jesus to have dinner with him. So Jesus went to the Pharisee's home and got ready to eat.#7.36 got ready to eat: On special occasions the Jewish people often followed the Greek and Roman custom of lying down on their left side and leaning on their left elbow, while eating with their right hand. This is how the woman could come up behind Jesus and wash his feet (see verse 38).
Mt 26.7; Mk 14.3; Jn 12.3. When a sinful woman in that town found out that Jesus was there, she bought an expensive bottle of perfume. 38Then she came and stood behind Jesus. She cried and started washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The woman kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them.
39The Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this and said to himself, “If this man really were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him! He would know that she is a sinner.”
40Jesus said to the Pharisee, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Teacher, what is it?” Simon replied.
41Jesus told him, “Two people were in debt to a moneylender. One of them owed him 500 silver coins, and the other owed him 50. 42Since neither of them could pay him back, the moneylender said that they didn't have to pay him anything. Which one of them will like him more?”
43Simon answered, “I suppose it would be the one who had owed more and didn't have to pay it back.”
“You are right,” Jesus said.
44He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Have you noticed this woman? When I came into your home, you didn't give me any water so I could wash my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45You didn't greet me with a kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You didn't even pour olive oil on my head,#7.44-46 washed my feet … greet me with a kiss … pour olive oil on my head: Guests in a home were usually offered water so they could wash their feet, because most people either went barefoot or wore sandals and would come in the house with very dusty feet. Guests were also greeted with a kiss on the cheek, and special ones often had sweet-smelling olive oil poured on their head. but she has poured expensive perfume on my feet. 47So I tell you that all her sins are forgiven, and that is why she has shown great love. But anyone who has been forgiven for only a little will show only a little love.”
48Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49Some other guests started saying to one another, “Who is this who dares to forgive sins?”
50But Jesus told the woman, “Because of your faith, you are now saved.#7.50 saved: Or “healed.” The Greek word may have either meaning. May God give you peace!”