New Defender's Study Bible Notes
8:5 came unto him a centurion. The parallel account (Luke 7:1-10) says that the centurion sent the Jewish elders to Jesus to make this request on his behalf (Luke 7:3). Matthew recognized that this was, to all intents and purposes, the centurion himself speaking, for he had delegated the elders to serve as his proxy. Perhaps the centurion thought that, since he was a Roman, the elders (as Jews) could influence Jesus to come more effectively than he could on his own. It is also possible that the centurion himself did come later, after the elders had first approached Jesus. In any case, there is certainly no necessary contradiction between the two accounts, as some have charged.