22. The centurion’s servant healed by Jesus
WHEN Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion beseeching him, saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
The elders of the Jews came, saying, That he was worthy: for he loveth our nation, and hath built us a synagogue.
And Jesus saith unto the centurion,
I will come and heal him.
The centurion answered, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. Jesus marvelled, and turned and said to the people that followed him,
Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And Jesus said unto the centurion,
Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.
His servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
¶The day after, Jesus went into a city called Nain: many of his disciples, and much people went with him.
Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of a widow: much people of the city was with her. The Lord had compassion on her, and said,
He touched the bier, and they that bare him stood still. Jesus said,
Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.
There came a fear on all: they glorified God, saying, A great prophet is risen among us.
This rumor of Jesus went forth throughout all Judea and the region round about. And the disciples of John shewed him [John the Baptist] of all these things.
Scripture: Matthew 8:5-17
Meditation 1 of 1:
In Jesus’ time the Jews hated the Romans because they represented everything they stood against — including foreign domination and pagan beliefs and practices. Why did Jesus not only warmly receive a Roman centurion but praise him as a model of faith and confidence in God? In the Roman world the position of centurion was very important. He was an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. In a certain sense, he was the backbone of the Roman army, the cement which held the army together. Polybius, an ancient writer, describes what a centurion should be: “They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable; they ought not to be over-anxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed, they must be ready to hold their ground, and die at their posts.” The centurion who approached Jesus was not only courageous, but faith-filled as well. He risked the ridicule of his cronies by seeking help from an itinerant preacher from Galilee, and well as mockery from the Jews. Nonetheless, he approached Jesus with confidence and humility. He was an extraordinary man because he loved his slave. In the Roman world slaves were treated like animals rather than people. The centurion was also an extraordinary man of faith. He wanted Jesus to heal his beloved slave. Jesus commends him for his faith and immediately grants him his request. Are you willing to suffer ridicule in the practice of your faith? And when you need help, do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith?
“Heavenly Father, you sent us your Son that we might be freed from the tyranny of sin and death. Increase my faith in the power of your saving word and give me freedom to love and serve others with generosity and mercy as you have loved me.”