Context – VS 1
This interaction took place after Jesus had chosenthe 12 disciples who became apostles and TheSermon On The Plain
Although Jesus grew up in Nazareth, He had chosenCapernaum as the “home-base” for His ministry. It became the location whereJesus regularly taught about The Kingdom of God and where He performed manymiracles.
· The Synagogue in Capernaum was the first to embrace Jesus’ teaching.
· He cast a demon spirit from a possessed man there and healed Peter’smother-in-law of an incapacitating illness.
· It was Capernaum where some friends of a paralytic broke through the roofof a house to lower him before Jesus. He was healed and told to take up his bedand go home.
This is the context of Jesus’ encounter with a RomanCenturion.
Unusual Circumstances – VS 2-3
The servant (slave) of a Roman Centurion was so sickhe was on death’s door. It is highly unusual that the Roman officer would havecompassion for his slave because they were a “dime-a-dozen” and easy toreplace.
However, this Centurion is not only concerned forhis slave, but they had an unusual bond. The words “highly-valued” are best translated “greatly-honored.” The Master respected his servant.
Another unusual aspect is the relationship existingbetween the Centurion and the Jewish community, especially with the “elders” ofthe community. The bond they enjoyed fostered a cooperative,if not affectionate, relationship.
Having heard about Jesus the Centurion sought thehelp of Jewish elders to ask Jesus to heal his servant and it seems they wereeager to help.
Prideful Perspective – VS4-5
The Jewish Elders approached Jesus saying: He is worthy to have You do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the onewho built us our synagogue.
Truth Point #1: No humanwork, no matter how generous or selfless it may appearto be, makes anyone worthy in the eyes of God.
God’s Word speaks definitively about human goodworks.
Isaiah 64:6, NLT We are all infected and impure with sin. Whenwe display our righteous deeds,they are nothing but filthy rags.
Rom. 3:10 There is none righteous, no not one.
The Jewish Elders suffered from the condition Royal Robbins wrote about… theysaw things as they would like them to be, not how it really were.
Truth Point #2: To say someone is “worthy” is to say that someone else is indebted to them… that they are owedspecial consideration.
God owes no one anything except condemnation for sin.
Praise God He gives us many wonderful blessings, but He is indebted to no one. On the other hand, weare indebted to Him for He is the worthy one.
Humble Perspective – VS 6-8
Jesus consented to go with them. Not because of theman’s worthiness, but because of compassion.
We are not told why the Centurion sent a seconddelegation to see Jesus, but when they arrived, we discover why He did not makehis request personally and why he was now suggesting Jesus not come to hishouse. VS6-7
Truth Point #3: The Centurion had reality by the horns. He sawthings as they really were. He was unworthy of Jesus’ visit just as we are unworthy of His love and grace.
Love for the Jewish people and generositynotwithstanding, the Centurion understood there was nothing within himself thatdeserved Jesus’ visit or kindness. Despite this realization, he saw that Jesuswas no mere Rabbi. Within the heart of this pagan gentile, faith blossomed inall of its God Glorifying beauty. VS8
Somehow the Centurion came to believe that Jesus wason earth as an ambassador of The Kingdom of God, and that in Him was the full authority of that Kingdom. Hereasoned that Jesus in a greater way, just as he in a lessor way, only neededto let His will be known and it would be done. The Centurion was not wrong.Colossians 1:15-20
Divine Perspective – VS 9
9 When Jesus heardthese things, He marveled (was amazed) at him, and turning to the crowd thatfollowed Him, said, “I tell you, not even inIsrael have I found such faith.”
AMAZING! ThisPagan, Gentile, Roman Soldier expressed more faith in God and His Messiah thandid the High Priest of Israel, the Scribes and Pharisee’s, and all the Rabbi’steaching in all the Synagogues.
Truth Point #4: Religious heritage, participationand/or position are not indicators of one’s true faith. Trust in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the time oftrial and uncertainty, is the indicator true faith.
It can be a bit shocking, but many times the peopleone would think possess true faith don’t, and those we think don’t – do.
Truth Point #5: Outward appearance and/or association doesnot always tell the tale about a person’sheart.
Jesus was amazed at the lack of faith in Israel and the abundantfaith in a Gentile Centurion. I’m amazed at how this story ends.
The Centurion pleads with Jesus not to come, but only say the word. Question: does Jesus ever say that word? Thetext does not record that He did. What it does record is that when theCenturion’s friends returned to his house, theyfound the servant fully whole.
Words are very powerful, even to the salvation ofone’s soul. The Apostle writes about this in Romans 10:9-10:
…if you confesswith your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him fromthe dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified,and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
If you have come to know the condemnation of God forsin, and that Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection is the answer foryour sin, then you are invited to SPEAK THE WORDS of repentance and faith and you will be saved.
Your condemnation will give way to grace and youwill become a dearly loved child of God. Are you ready to SPEAK THE WORDS thatreflect the faith that is blooming in your heart toward Jesus?
I pray you will.
The love and grace of God, in Jesus Christ,
are truly AMAZING!
The Mission Church is committed to serving God by making disciples in the Des Moines area.
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