Q. Question: concerning the centurion of Matt. 8. Roman soldiers were disliked by Jews because of the oppression they suffered under Roman law, as I understand, yet the officer (centurion) in the Roman army searched out for Jesus ‘the teacher’ as he wanted his servant healed. Where in the world did the centurion get his faith as he said to Jesus “Just say the word from where you are and my servant will be healed?” (Matthew 8:8)
A. Matt. 4:23-25 says, Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
And multitudes followed Him up on a mountainside where He delivered His “Sermon On The Mount” (Matthew 5-7).
When Jesus came down the mountainside, large crowds followed Him into Capernaum where the centurion approached Him concerning healing his servant. Being a soldier, the centurion recognized Jesus as one having authority. Having heard of His ability to heal all manner of diseases, he reasoned that Jesus could command the spirits that brought these diseases.
Like Abraham, His faith came by hearing and by reasoning (Hebrews 11:17-19). We are not really privy to all that the centurion knew of the Lord but we know he knew enough to believe and ask. Jesus commended him for his faith which He said surpassed anything He’d seen in Israel (Matt. 8:10).