THE CAPTAIN'S SERVANT, THE WIDOW'S SON, AND THE WOMAN WHO WAS A SINNER
Matthew viii: 5 to 13; Luke vii: 1 to 17; 36 to 50.
HERE was at Capernaum an officer of the Roman army, a
man who had under him a company of a hundred men. They
called him "a centurion," a word which means "having a
hundred," but we should call him "a captain." This man
was not a Jew, but was what the Jews called "a
Gentile," "a foreigner," a name which the Jews gave
to all people outside of their own race. All the
world, except the Jews themselves, were Gentiles.
This Roman centurion was a good man, and he loved the
Jews, because through them he had heard of God, and had
learned how to worship God. Out of his love for the
Jews he had built for them, with his own money, a
synagogue, which may have been the very synagogue in
which Jesus taught on the Sabbath-days.
The centurion had a young servant, a boy, whom he loved
greatly; and this boy was very sick with a palsy, and
near to death. The centurion had heard that Jesus
could cure those who were sick; and he asked the chief
men of the synagogue, who were called its "elders," to
go to Jesus, and ask him to come and cure his young
The elders spoke to Jesus just as he came again to
Capernaum, after the Sermon on the Mount. They asked
Jesus to go with them to the centurion's house; and
they said, "He is a worthy man, and it is fitting that
you should help him, for though a Gentile, he loves our
people, and he has built for us our synagogue."
A CENTURION COMES TO JESUS
Then Jesus said, "I will go and heal him."
But while he was on his way, and with him were the
elders, and his disciples, and a great crowd of people,
who hoped to see the
 work of healing, the centurion
sent some other friends to Jesus with this message:
"Lord, do not take the trouble to come to my house; for
I am not worthy that one so high as thou art should
come under my roof; and I did not think that I was
worthy to go and speak to thee. But speak only a word
where you are, and my servant shall be made well. For
I also am a man under rule, and I have soldiers under
me, and I say to one,
'Go,' and he goes; and to another,
'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and
he does it. You, too, have power to speak and to be
obeyed. Speak the word, and my servant will be cured."
When Jesus heard this he wondered at this man's faith.
He turned to the people following him, and said, "In
truth I say to you, I have not found such faith as this
in all Israel!"
 Then he spoke to the friends of the centurion who had
brought word from him:
"Go and say to this man, As you have believed in me, so
shall it be done to you."
Then those who had been sent went again to the
centurion's house, and found that in that very hour his
servant had been made perfectly well.
On the day after this, Jesus, with his disciples and
many people, went out from Capernaum, and turned
southward, and came to a city called Nain. Just as
Jesus and his disciples came near to the gate of the
city they were met by a company who were carrying out
the body of a dead man to be buried. He was a young
man, and the only son of his mother, and she was a
widow. All the people felt sad for this woman who had
lost her only son.
When the Lord Jesus saw the mother in her grief, he
pitied her, and said, "Do not weep."
He drew near, and touched the frame on which they were
carrying the body, wrapped round and round with long
strips of linen. The bearers looked with wonder on
this stranger, and set down the frame with its body,
and stood still. Standing beside the body, Jesus said,
"Young man, I say to you, Rise up!"
And in a moment the young man sat up and began to
speak. Jesus gave him to his mother, who now saw that
her son, who had been dead, was alive again.
A great fear came upon all who had looked upon this
wonderful work of Jesus. They praised God, and said,
"God had indeed come to his people, and has given us a
And the news that Jesus had raised a dead man to life
again went through all the land.
While Jesus was on this journey through southern
Galilee, at one place a Pharisee, whose name was Simon,
asked Jesus to come and dine at his house. This man
did not believe in Jesus, but he wanted to watch him,
and, if possible, to find some fault in him. He did not
show Jesus the respect due to a guest, did not welcome
him, nor did he bring water to wash Jesus' feet, as was
done to people when they came in from walking. For in
that land they wore no shoes or stockings, but only
sandals, covering the soles of their feet; and they
often washed their feet when they came into the house.
 At meals they did not sit up around the table, but
leaned on couches, with their heads toward the table
and their feet away from it. While Jesus was leaning
in this manner upon his couch at the table, a woman
came into the dining room, bringing a flask of
ointment, such as was used to anoint people of high
rank. She knelt down at the feet of Jesus, weeping,
and began to wet his feet with her tears, and then to
wipe them with her long hair. She anointed his feet
with the ointment, and kissed them over and over again.
THE WOMAN WASHING THE FEET OF JESUS IN THE HOUSE OF SIMON
This woman had not been a good woman. She had led a
wicked life; but by her act she showed that in her
heart she was truly sorry for her sins. When Simon,
the Pharisee, saw her at the Saviour's feet he thought
within himself, though he did not say it, "If this man
were really a prophet coming from God, he would have
known how wicked this woman is, and he would not have
allowed her to touch him."
Jesus knew this man's thought, and he said, "Simon, I
have something to say to you."
And Simon said, "Master, say on."
Then Jesus said, "There was a certain lender of money
to whom two men were owing. One man owed him five
hundred shillings, and the other owed him fifty. When
he found that they could not pay their debts, he freely
forgave them, and let them both go free. Which of
these two will love that man most?"
"Why," said Simon, "I suppose that the one to whom he
forgave the most will love him the most."
"You are right," said Jesus. Then he turned toward the
woman, and added, "Do you see this woman? I came into
your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she
has wetted my feet with her tears, and has wiped them
with her hair. You gave me no kiss of welcome, but she
has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my
head even with oil, but she has anointed my feet with
ointment. You have acted as though you owed me little,
and you have loved me little; but she feels that she
owes me much, and she loves me greatly. I say to you,
'Her sins, which are many, are forgiven.' "
Then he spoke to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven."
Those who were around the table whispered to each
other, "Who is this man that dares to act as God, and
even to forgive sins?"
 But Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you;
go in peace!"
And Jesus went through all that part of Galilee,
preaching and teaching in all the villages, telling the
people everywhere the good news of the kingdom of God.