There is a story included in both Matthew and Luke of Jesus healing a Roman Centurion’s servant. Healing someone is amazing but that is not the most amazing part of the story. Well, according to Jesus it isn’t.
The amazing part of this story according to Jesus is the Centurion’s faith. His faith is amazing because of his humility and his understanding of Jesus’ authority.
Jesus had just finished delivering his Sermon on the Mount. People were astonished at his ability to speak with authority. His words carried the authority of God. The Centurion connected the dots. He realized that not only is Jesus’ teaching the real deal but Jesus was the real deal in his ability to heal. “Jesus, just say the word and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8).
The Centurion new what it was like to live under the authority of his commanding officer. Using military terms, he knew that Jesus’ authority came from God the Father. The Centurion also knew what it was like to give orders and have men follow him. In Luke’s account the Centurion sends men to meet Jesus and convey his request. They follow his orders.
If Jesus has the supernatural authority of God (he himself being Deity) then he can direct the natural. Jesus directs the order of everything. The Centurion leads 100 soldiers but Jesus commands the earth and every living thing.
The faith of the Centurion comes from a place of humility. He does not want to bring trouble on Jesus for entering a Gentile’s home, making himself unclean. He is not worthy of such a sacrifice, a betrayal of Judaic code. “Just speak it Jesus and it will be so.”
Jesus grants the man’s request and says, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Jesus is amazed. I’m not sure what is more amazing, the healing, the man’s faith, or the fact that Jesus is amazed by the Centurion’s faith.
Let’s look at that last part. Jesus grants the request of a 1) wealthy 2) Roman 3) soldier and upholds his faith as an example for Israel! Jesus destroys three barriers that would have impeded such recognition among the Jewish community. This whole story is amazing in that the Jewish community collaborates with a Roman soldier to heal a slave.
Jesus made sure to show by example his inclusion of all people by interacting with gentiles.
No one is excluded from the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God may look different than what some might think. Two different groups from two different cultures who are enemies come together under the common cause of finding Jesus and saving a loved one.
This is what makes Jesus, this story, the miracle, the Centurion’s faith, and the kingdom so amazing.
We would do well to be awestruck, to marvel, take note, and fall-in.
What causes you to marvel at the greatness of God?
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