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 marvelled 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.
Comment: The Jews on the whole hated the Romans. This Captain in the Roman army seems to have been an exception in that he had built a local synagogue (Religious meeting house). Jesus ministry was almost exclusively amongst the Jews but the army captain had obviously heard stories and believed them. He had left his own basic background and accepted the Jewish God presumably as a convert to Judaism (proselyte). He, as a man of authority, humbled himself enough to ask Jewish Elders to plead with Jesus on his behalf. Then he said to Jesus, ‘My soldiers do what I command them. I know that you have more authority than that. Just say the word and I know he’ll be healed.’ Jesus didn’t go with the Centurion, but on returning to his home, the Roman found his son healed by the Jew whom he had learnt to trust. Then it was as if Jesus wrote a letter of commendation. He wrote ‘ You, Roman soldier have shown more faith than I have seen in any of my fellow countrymen. Well done!’
A record of events or a fairy story? How I respond determines how I must act!
Prayer: Reading your word, I get so many challenges. Help me to answer honestly and act appropriately.