Matthew 8: 5-10
“5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
Centurions were the most important soldiers of the Roman army, each commanding 100 men. They were men of proven leadership skills who had won the respect of the men they led on the battlefield. The centurion that approached Jesus was such a man.
The Centurion, a man of war, came face to face with God incarnate and he realized, in that instant, who he stood beside. The Centurion, a leader of men, a man of proven worth in battle, was a man who felt unworthy standing in the presence of the Son of God. At the same time, he knew that Jesus had the power to heal his servant, just by speaking.
In this Centurion Jesus saw not only a man of faith but a man of love and compassion, who had gone the extra mile for a person who was his servant, and probably his slave. Most Romans would not have given a second thought to the suffering of such a person.
Jesus held this Centurion up to His disciples as an example of faith. Not only did the Centurion believe, he lived that belief.
And that is the faith to which we are called.
May the love of Christ be with you,
Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)