Thursday, February 22, 2007

Understanding a Centurion’s Faith

Here’s another passage that had puzzled me for quite a while:

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. Lk 7:2-10

The centurion sends elders of the Jews to ask Christ to heal his servant, but as Christ approaches, the centurion sends his friends to tell Christ He doesn’t need to come to the centurion’s house, only say the word and the servant to be healed, and how the centurion has authority, and how he can order his soldiers around and they do what they’re told.

So what’s the connection? Why does Christ say that the centurion has such great faith?

The connection is that as the centurion had authority over the soldiers under his command, and they had to do what he ordered them to do, Christ had authority over all creation, and creation had to do what Christ commanded it to do. Hence, the centurion - by faith - knew that Christ only needed to say the word, and the centurion’s servant would be healed, because all creation was under His authority.

That he had this faith and acted on it was what Christ marveled at. That this show of faith was made by someone who wasn’t one of the children of Israel made it even more remarkable.

No comments: