Summary: Yes, I hate to tell you but He loves me the best. Well actually He loves and cares for everyone who comes to Him and all of a sudden you will realise that you are His favourite. I am not just a number in the system.
Matthew 8:5-7 JESUS HAS NO FAVOURITES, EXCEPT ME!
I'm now just another number in the system of "New Start". I made a phone call for Unemployment Benefits yesterday, while I am looking for a ministry opportunity. It took me a long time to get through and I was asked by a computer a series of questions before speaking personally to someone. Then the first question I was asked was "What is your social security number?" I didn't have it on hand. I'm just a number. But not to God!
I notice that the Bible deals with how we view position in society a lot. It doesn't seem to come out and say that having servants and slaves is wrong. We would be horrified at the number of slaves who were in Israel in Jesus' time. And it doesn't have very much to say about how Rome dominated Israel, sometimes quite unfairly. Somehow no matter what your place is in your culture, the Bible addresses you on an equal level - Centurion or servant, Jew or Gentile, Politician or Pleb. Are you disappointed? I'm not! Jesus spoke to people from every social walk of life and broke through every social barrier that our culture has set up. It seems to me that while we jump up and down at the injustice of having slaves, Jesus is wanting us to address the deep issues of our hearts that causes people to be enslaved. Deal with that first and you'll be empowered to deal with social justice issues with the right motivations. He works from the inside out.
Matthew doesn't tell us what happened to the crowds who came to hear Jesus speak while He was on the mountain. He just says that Jesus taught them and that they were astounded at His authority (Matthew 7:29). That's probably what attracted a Roman Officer, a centurion, to come to Him - AUTHORITY. He knew all about authority.
Now remember that Jesus heals a man with leprosy as He comes down from the mountain and hardly anybody knows about it. This is apparently the first time He has healed someone and Jesus told him to keep quiet about it. Then He moves on to Capernaum.
Do you get the idea that Matthew is leaving bits and pieces of the story out? He is emphasising various aspects of Jesus' ministry that other Gospels will no doubt include. Anyway, that's the impression that I get.
"When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him," (Matthew 8:5). Now, here's something Matthew found interesting, because a Roman officer would not normally come grovelling to anyone, much less a Jew, and certainly not on behalf of a servant, yet here he is, pleading with Jesus.
The other thing I notice is that he came to Jesus in the first place. I mean, as far as Matthew is concerned, Jesus has only done ONE HEALING and that was kept a SECRET. So why did this guy come to Jesus? This indicates to me that by this time Jesus was known for healing other people as well. Either that or Jedadiah, you know - the man who was healed of leprosy, (we don't actually know his name but Jedadiah sounds good to me), had been on TV and written a book about getting healed which was a best seller,... but somehow I don't think so.