Walking in Truth Devotional Update
Jesus Healed the Servant of a Centurion Matt. 8:5-13; Lk. 7:1-10
Jesus had just concluded His remarks on the majestic sermon on the Mount: “Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum” (Lk. 7:1). In verse 46 of the sixth chapter Jesus asked, why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? He was dealing with the issue of authority and the failure of the people to recognize that He had authority as God. In our setting of this miracle we have a Gentile army officer recognizing the authority of Jesus.
Having heard about Jesus and believing He had power to heal the sick, the centurion sent elders of the Jews to plead for the centurion’s servant (probably a slave) who was very dear to him. This was very strange since Jewish leaders were not in the habit of being fond of Roman soldiers and Roman soldiers were not fond of Jewish people. Those elders apparently believed the centurion was worthy of being helped because they begged Jesus earnestly, saying that he loved the Jewish nation and had even built a synagogue (Lk. 7:3-5). For a non-Jew to get the leaders of the synagogue to “plead earnestly” with Jesus on his behalf says a lot about the esteem in which they held him. His knowledge of God and love for Him is shown by his love for his fellow man (Matt. 22:37-40). This man was very compassionate for his servant who was paralyzed and in terrible suffering according to Matthew (Matt. 8:6).
“Then Jesus went with them. And when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed” (v. 6-7). The centurion’s humility was clear for he said, “I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not even think myself worthy to come to You” (v. 6, 7).
When Jesus heard what the centurion had said, He was amazed, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (vv. 6-9). Jesus was amazed that this Roman centurion, a stranger to the covenant, knowing little, if any, about the Scriptures, saw what the covenant people did not see, the divine holiness in Jesus, and that He was a man of authority. The Jewish leaders later asked Jesus “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matt. 21:23). Belief in the authority of God’s Word and the sovereignty of God brings results as we learn from this great incident in the life of our Lord.
“But say the word, and my servant will be healed” (v. 7). Luke doesn’t record Jesus even having to speak a word, though probably He did to satisfy the centurion’s friends who had come bearing this message. “Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well” (v. 10). The servant is now completely healed!
May I ask you, “Who do you think Jesus is? When you have looked at all the evidence, what does it point to?” The man who had the greatest faith in Israel was a centurion who simply knew who Jesus was, what He was able to do, and humbly asked Him, and trusted that He would receive what he needed. This is probably one of the greatest stories of faith in the New Testament.
Even today, it isn’t always preachers, elders, deacons, or biblical scholars who demonstrate great faith. Sometimes it is the housewife, farmer, soldier, school teacher or other such people in the pew, who demonstrate great faith in God. I have been impressed with such people through 66 years of preaching and have been tremendously encouraged by them.
Great faith begins by knowing Jesus personally, recognizing His great compassion, believing in His wonderful promises, and understanding His divine authority to command and enforce obedience and moves one to simple trusting service to Him.
By Guy Roberson
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