Listen:  121.6

Let’s read Matthew 8:5-10 to gain an understanding of this text, “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel..”

In Capernaum, the Lord was approached by a centurion.  A centurion is the military leader of 100 men.  In all likelihood, this man was a Roman.  Although this man was not a Jew, he had incredible faith in the Lord Jesus.  He asked the Lord to heal his daughter, but also told Him that he was not worthy that the Lord should come inside his house.  He knew that if the Lord would just speak words of healing, his daughter would be saved.  Although the Lord had said in John 4:22 that, “…salvation is of the Jews”, this man’s faith was so great that the Lord answered his request and healed His daughter.

Now let’s read Matthew 8:11, “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.”  The Lord goes on to explain to His disciples that many would come to Him from the east and the west.  This speaks of the Gospel of Good News going out to the whole world.  In return, people from all over the world will join Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in enjoying the pleasures of being in Glory.  The offer of salvation to the Gentiles was not new.  We read in Deuteronomy 32:21, “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.”  Because of Israel’s rejection of the Lord, the Lord sent out the Gospel to the Gentiles.  From the east and from the west, many have responded to the Lord’s offer of salvation as a free gift through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let’s consider the Apostle Paul’s words to the Jews in Acts 13:46, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

Now let’s read Matthew 8:12, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Let’s read this verse out of the J.B. Phillips translation, which makes the meaning a little clearer.  It says, “But those who should have belonged to the kingdom will be banished to the darkness outside, where there will be tears and bitter regret.”  Those who should have belonged to the kingdom of God and enjoy all the benefits of the Lord, lost that position because of unbelief and rejection of the Lord Jesus.  The Jewish nation was chosen to be God’s earthly people.  As a whole, this nation has rejected the Lord Jesus, and will, because of their unbelief, be cast into outer darkness.  This outer darkness, a place where there is no light at all, certainly speaks of Hell.  The Lord is pointing out that because of unbelief, many Jews will not enjoy the kingdom of God, but will languish for eternity in a place of tears and bitter regret.

Let’s be very clear, all who reject the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior will spend eternity in Hell.  However, 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  (121.6)