Saturday, February 21, 2009

0 A Centurion's Faith

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set 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 these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well. (Luke 7:1-10, ESV)
And so goes the story of the Roman Centurion in Luke 7:1-10. It is interesting to see the difference between the assessment of the Jews concerning the worthiness of the centurion to have Jesus heal his servant, and that of the centuiron himself. The Jews argue that, indeed, this centurion, because of his service to them, and care for the people under his charge as one of the local Roman overseers, was worthy of having his servant healed by Christ. "He is a good man," they say to Christ, "and therefore he's a good person for you to grant your charity."

The centurion, though, when he encounters Jesus, recognizes His authority, and humbly says to Him that he is not worthy even to have Christ come into his house (let alone heal the servant). And, in this humility, he simply makes the plea: "Please heal him." Christ then praises the faith of this man - and I think, too, the humility that accompanies true faith like his.

We whom Christ has touched and healed ought to walk in a way consistent with our understanding that we are not worthy to be healed - not worthy to be known by Christ, and led by Him - not worthy to be considered one of His sheep. We are not worthy, and He is faithful to care for those who humbly understand their sinful estate, and seek the healing waters that only Christ provides. There is none worthy of the miraculous work of salvation - not before or after the Holy Spirit has replaced the heart of stone with the heart of flesh. None is ever worthy, yet I know my own heart well enough to know that I don't always walk accordingly. May the humble faith of the Roman Centurion remind us of how we ought to regard ourselves, and how we ought to reflect this in our walk before the Lord.



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