Matthew 8:5-13 “Only Speak A Word.”
Jesus taught and acted as one who had authority (7:29). He had just demonstrated that authority in the healing of the leper (8:1-4). The centurion heard and saw. This man understood the power of the spoken word from one who had authority. As a soldier commanding soldiers it was part of his daily life. Just as the leper expressed his belief in the divinity of Jesus by worshipping him, even so the centurion expressed the same belief in Jesus, that his words were the very words of God and were therefore authoritative (vv. 5-7 Cf. Lk. 7:1ff.). “Only speak a word,” was the centurion’s plea (vv. 8-9 Cf. Ps. 107:20).
This is the “great faith” that the Lord seeks, which he found not in the covenanted community of Israel, but from the lips of a Gentile (v. 10). Those who have like faith will be among the true covenanted children of the kingdom (v. 11 Cf. Mal. 1:11), but those without this faith in the Son will be children of the kingdom who think that physical descent and outward symbols are enough. The latter rejected the Son, but the former, like the centurion, are those who believe in the divine authority of the Son, and so bear the fruit of true believers (v. 12 Cf. Mt. 21:43; Lk. 13:28). “As you have believed, so let it be done” (v. 13).