The Faith Of A Centurion

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When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “ Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “ I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “ Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘ Go, ’ and he goes, and to another, ‘ Come, ’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘ Do this, ’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “ Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “ Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. -Matthew 8:5–13

A Centurion was a captain of the Roman guard. He was not a man who had innate authority, but one who had been given his authority from Cesar. In that sense, the Centurion represented Cesar and all his authority.

The Centurion (who is not a Jew) comes to Jesus because one of his servants had fallen deathly sick. He approaches Jesus, addresses him as Lord, and tells him of his servant’s condition. Jesus knows why the Centurion came and tells him that he will follow him to the house and heal the servant. The Centurion however refuses to have Jesus in his home. I don’t so much think that the Centurion was concerned about hospitality, or even defiling Jesus the Jew; he did not feel worthy to have God’s representative come to his own home.

The reason I say this is because of the interaction Jesus has with the Centurion. The man explains that he too is a man under authority. He commands and the people obey. The people obey because the Centurion speaks in the place of Cesar. To disobey the Centurion man is to disobey the authority of Rome itself. The Centurion believes by faith that Jesus is the representative of God on earth. He believes that if Jesus commands a paralyzing sickness to leave a body, the sickness has no other choice but to obey. To disobey Jesus is to disobey God himself. This Centurion is commended for his great faith because he has honored Jesus as Lord more than all that have met him thus far.

If Jesus came to you today, would you be commended for your great faith, or reprimanded for your faithlessness?

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