“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” – Matthew 8:5-9.
Jesus, once marveled at the faith He found in a man. It’s the only instance that the gospels record such a response from Jesus (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10). In other versions, the Bible says that Jesus was amazed, and for good reason. In all of Israel, the people who know of the wondrous works of God, Jesus could not find a more faith-filled person.
This man was not a religious leader, rabbi, or one of the disciples, he was a Roman soldier. It is hard to think of a more unlikely person in those times to amaze Jesus. He was a Roman, who was charged with the responsibility to ensure the Jews subjected themselves to Rome. He was a man of war. He achieved the rank of centurion by distinguishing himself above others in the brutal Roman personal combat arts. He was somebody that you would expect to have faith in his fighting abilities and the abilities of his soldiers rather than faith in the person, power, and authority of Jesus.
The man, wanted Jesus to come and heal his servant, but considered himself unworthy for Jesus would come under his roof. So the request he makes to Jesus is that he should “say the word”, or “Just give the order “ (CEV), for healing.
On hearing the request, Jesus says “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel” (Matthew 8:10). Jesus accepted this as true, active faith; the kind of faith He was looking for, and yet so often did not find. Jesus says “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” Jesus spoke the command and the servant was healed.
The centurion approached Jesus with humility, faith, and love. The centurion didn’t even view himself as worthy enough to go and meet Jesus or make Him walk all the way to his house, instead, he humbled himself and trusted Jesus. He believed in who Jesus was, knowing that his faith gave God room to move and heal in big ways.
How many times have we sacrificed our faith for our pride? It would’ve been so easy for the centurion to hold onto his position and pride instead of exalting Jesus and asking Him for help. Do we have the level of faith to fully believe that Jesus is completely who He says He is?
It will never be our works or worthiness that amaze Jesus, He already loves us endlessly. It’s our faith that Jesus authors and perfects in us that is the platform for His greatness. So let’s let love motivate us to step out in faith, trusting God to work and move through us.
- How is the centurion’s position like our own? Why is that? How is the centurion’s position different from ours? Why is that?
- How does our own view of Jesus’s authority compare to the centurion?