As a Gentile, I get a kick out of passages in the Bible where the Kingdom of God “breaks in” to those like me, previously “having no hope and without God in this world” (Eph. 2:12). Today’s reading in Matthew is one such passage.
Jesus has just given the sermon on the mount, telling us what the kingdom would look like. He just healed a person from leprosy—one of the messianic miracles—a sign that the Kingdom’s Ruler was here! Now we have someone from what the Jews would consider outside the Kingdom, asking for healing for their servant. This Gentile comes with a deep faith that causes Jesus to marvel, “I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel” (Matt 8:10). Jesus graciously mandates healing from afar, and the servant is healed at that very moment.
Jesus’ words after this (Matt 8:11-12) are a reminder of what it takes to get into the kingdom of God: faith. We never enter the kingdom based our own good works. It’s always a gift from God -- and everyone is welcome to that gift!