Today’s Reading; Matthew 8:5-9
I wished I had a parallel story on this but quite frankly I do not. I guess sometimes you should just let the story speak for itself.
Here we have a member of the Roman army and not just any leader. He is a Centurion. He probably was entrusted with around 60-125 troops, hence the name centurion. This is where we get our word for century or 100 years. He must have heard the message of Jesus at some point.
1. The Centurion PLEADED with Jesus. Roman soldiers were not known for pleading with anyone. They were given authority, especially over the Jews, to act in the place of Caesar. But this one was different. He obviously had compassion for his troops because he was concerned about his servant. “My servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible agony.”
2. The Centurion recognized the Rank of Jesus. Or more appropriately he recognized that Jesus has AUTHORITY. He wouldn’t let Jesus come to his house to heal his servant. But instead he says to Jesus that if He were to just say the word it would be sufficient. His basis was by Jesus’ authority. Then he talks of his own authority by saying that what ever he says it happens, “I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my •slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” So just like the Centurion has authority and gives commands Jesus has authority and gives commands.
3. Jesus recognizes the Centurions FAITH. Jesus answered the Centurion with a tremendous statement. “I assure you: I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith!” Yes! He said this IN FRONT OF OTHER JEWS! The Jews already did not have high regard for Roman soldiers. But when they heard this imagine what they must have thought? The Sermon on the Mount must still have been fresh in their minds and the teaching on faith was being reinforced here. Jesus points out that this man who just simply asked for Jesus to say the word and heal his servant without going to his house. But it was much more than this… The Centurion BELIEVED that Jesus could do it.
How many times have we asked Jesus to do something for us but we expected Him to be there as well? Or, how many times have we prayed for something but not fully believe that it would be fulfilled. Is it a problem with our faith? Would Jesus say about us that He has not found anyone in Texas, Georgia, or _(fill in your place)____ that has greater faith?