[i] 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. 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. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.[/i]
[b]A centurion[/b] - Εκατονταρχος. A Roman military officer who had the command of one hundred men.
The point of stressing here is to call to mind every instance that the Lord or the disciples had with the military of their time. Whether they be soldiers or commanders, nowhere is an ideal of pacifism expressed towards them or expected from them, nowhere does He or do they instruct them to lay down their arms and cease going to war, to battle.
John the Baptist, as the forerunner to the Lord Himself had the same mindset;
[i] And soldiers also asked him, saying, And we, what must we do? And he said unto them, Extort from no man by violence, neither accuse any one wrongfully; and be content with your wages.[/i]
If I might interject something here I think what has been greatly misunderstood and wrenched completely out of it's proper context is a humanistic or 'humanism' philosophy that recasts the Lord and His intentions in our own image or way's of thinking.
The difficult emphasis I am attempting to bring forth is just to look at things and understand them from the point of view that He Himself gave towards these matters. And for the most part the impression He left was that of being unmoved, even non-pulsed by it all. Just facts as they are, pushing to a more penetrating and important question.
[i]There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.[/i] Act 10:1,2
[b]A centurion[/b] - Ἑκατονταρχης, The chief or captain of 100 men, as both the Greek and Latin words imply. How the Roman armies were formed, divided, and marshalled, see in the notes on Mat_20:16 (note). A centurion among the Romans was about the same rank as a captain among us.
The band called the Italian band - The word σπειρα, which we translate band, signifies the same as cohort or regiment, which sometimes consisted of 555 infantry, and 66 cavalry; but the cohors prima, or first cohort, consisted of 1105 infantry, and 132 cavalry, in the time of Vegetius. But the cavalry are not to be considered as part of the cohort, but rather a company joined to it. A Roman legion consisted of ten cohorts; the first of which surpassed all the others, both in numbers and in dignity. When in former times the Roman legion contained 6000, each cohort consisted of 600, and was divided into three manipuli; but both the legions and cohorts were afterwards various in the numbers they contained. As there were doubtless many Syrian auxiliaries, the regiment in question was distinguished from them as consisting of Italian, i.e. Roman, soldiers. The Italian cohort is not unknown among the Roman writers: Gruter gives an inscription, which was found in the Forum Sempronii, on a fine table of marble, nine feet long, four feet broad, and four inches thick; on which are the following words: -
l. maesio. l. f. pol.
rvfo. proc. avg.
trib. mil. leg. x.
coh. mil. ITALIC. volunt.
qvae. est. in. syria. praef.
See Gruters Inscriptions, p. ccccxxxiii-iv.
This was probably the same cohort as that mentioned here by St. Luke; for the tenth legion mentioned in the above inscription was certainly in Judea, a.d. 69. Tacitus also mentions the Italica legio, the Italic legion, lib. i. c. 59, which Junius Blaesus had under his command in the province of Lyons. We learn, from the Roman historians, that the fifth, tenth, and fifteenth legions were stationed in Judea; and the third, fourth, sixth, and twelfth in Syria. The Italic legion was in the battle of Bedriacum, fought, a.d. 69, between the troops of Vitellius and Otho; and performed essential services to the Vitellian army. See Tacitus, Hist. lib. ii. cap. 41. The issue of this battle was the defeat of the Othonians, on which Otho slew himself, and the empire was confirmed to Vitellius.
Wherever he sees it necessary, St. Luke carefully gives dates and facts, to which any might have recourse who might be disposed to doubt his statements: we have had several proofs of this in his Gospel. See especially Luk_1:1 (note), etc., and Luk_3:1 (note), etc., and the notes there.
Decided against stringing this out too much longer by example upon example. Was not the Lord addressing the root of the matter, the most important aspects, the [i]other[/i] concerns predominately?
Mat 24:6 [i] And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: [u]see that ye be not troubled[/u]: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet[/i].
Whatever ones particular eschatology, the sentiment is still the same. Whether it be His dismissing the disciples questions in regards to "[i]the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?[/i] The response is the same: [i]I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.[/i] Luk 13:5
Mar 8:31 [i]And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.[/i]
Interesting is it not that it was the Roman soldiers who [i]put[/i] the Lord to death, but who was it that had long before murdered Him?
Mat 5:21 [i]Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:[/i]
[b]Thou shalt not kill[/b] - See Exo_20:13. This properly denotes taking the life of another with malice, or with an intention to murder him. The Jews understood it as meaning no more. The comment of our Saviour shows that it was spiritual, and was designed to extend to the thoughts and feelings as well as the external act.
Mat 5:22 [i]But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:[/i]
[b]Mat 5:22 -
But I say unto you[/b] - Jesus being God as well as man Joh_1:1, Joh_1:14, and therefore, being the original giver of the law, had a right to expound it or change it as he pleased. Compare Mat_12:6, Mat_12:8. He therefore spoke here and elsewhere as having authority, and not as the scribes. It may be added here that no mere man ever spake as Jesus did, when explaining or enforcing the law. He did it as having a right to do it; and he that has a right to ordain and change laws in the government of God must be himself divine.
[b]Is angry with His brother without a cause[/b] - Anger, or that feeling which we have when we are injured, and which prompts us to defend ourselves when in danger, is a natural feeling, given to us:
1. As a proper expression of our disapprobation of a course of evil conduct; and
2. That we may defend ourselves when suddenly attacked.
When excited against sin, it is lawful. God is angry with the wicked, Psa_7:11. Jesus looked on the hypocritical Pharisees with anger, Mar_3:5. So it is said, Be ye angry, and sin not, Eph_4:26. This anger, or indignation against sin, is not what our Saviour speaks of here. What he condemns here is anger without a cause; that is, unjustly, rashly, hastily, where no offence has been given or intended. In that case it is evil; and it is a violation of the sixth commandment, because he that hateth his brother, is a murderer, 1Jo_3:15. He has a feeling which would lead him to commit murder, if it were fully acted out. The word brother here refers not merely to one to whom we are nearly related, having the same parent or parents, as the word is commonly used, but includes also a neighbor, or perhaps anyone with whom we may be associated. As all people are descended from one Father and are all the creatures of the same God, so they are all brethren: and so every man should be regarded and treated as a brother, Heb_11:16.
[i]And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: [u]for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.[/u]
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. [u]For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?[/u] Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.[/i] Mar 8:32-38
Another point stressed strangely enough by way of military comparison and which I will leave off at. Would note that there is something just as peculiar in the entangling that we all can get ourselves into by missing the expressed sentiment that the Lord and the disciples were always pointing to:
[i]Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with [u]the affairs of this life[/u]; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.[/i] 2Ti 2:3,4
[b]2Ti 2:4 -
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life[/b] - Having alluded to the soldier, and stated one thing in which the Christian minister is to resemble him, another point of resemblance is suggested to the mind of the apostle. Neither the minister nor the soldier is to be encumbered with the affairs of this life, and the one should not be more than the other. This is always a condition in becoming a soldier. He gives up his own business during the time for which he is enlisted, and devotes himself to the service of his country. The farmer leaves his plow, and the mechanic his shop, and the merchant his store, and the student his books, and the lawyer his brief; and neither of them expect to pursue these things while engaged in the service of their country. It would be wholly impracticable to carry on the plans of a campaign, if each one of these classes should undertake to prosecute his private business. See this fully illustrated from the Rules of War among the Romans, by Grotius, in loc. Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry, or to engage in any husbandry or trade; and they were forbidden to act as tutors to any person, or curators to any mans estate, or proctors in the cause of other men. The general principle was, that they were excluded from those relations, agencies, and engagements, which it was thought would divert their minds from that which was to be the sole object of pursuit. So with the ministers of the gospel. It is equally improper for them to entangle themselves with the business of a farm or plantation; with plans of speculation and gain, and with any purpose of worldly aggrandizement. The minister of the gospel accomplishes the design of his appointment only when he can say in sincerity, that he is not entangled with the affairs of this life; compare the notes at 1Co_9:25-27.
[b]That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier[/b] - That is, him who has enlisted him, or in whose employ he is. His great object is to approve himself to him. It is not to pursue his own plans, or to have his own will, or to accumulate property or fame for himself. His will is absorbed in the will of his commander, and his purpose is accomplished if he meet with his approbation. Nowhere else is it so true that the will of one becomes lost in that of another, as in the case of the soldier. In an army it is contemplated that there shall be but one mind, one heart, one purpose - that of the commander; and that the whole army shall be as obedient to that as the members of the human body are to the one will that controls all. The application of this is obvious. The grand purpose of the minister of the gospel is to please Christ. He is to pursue no separate plans, and to have no separate will, of his own; and it is contemplated that the whole Corps of Christian ministers and members of the churches shall be as entirely subordinate to the will of Christ, as an army is to the orders of its chief.
Finally and more importantly, to redirect this even more so ... Received the following from a brother who has traversed this site in the past as I was still forming my thoughts, the timing was quite interesting: [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=10974&post_id=85389&order=0&viewmode=thread&pid=0&forum=35#85389]Has the church missed the real war?[/url]