The Faith of the Centurion

Our gospel text from Matthew 8: 5-17, talks about Jesus’ encounter with the Centurion. In those days, a Centurion probably was an officer in charge of about hundred soldiers. And since they were people with authority, somehow, some could be proud and even feel self-sufficient. They were Gentiles and not Jews and if even a Gentile was to meet Jesus it wouldn’t certainly be a Centurion. But you see in time of need what is required is not status or identity but faith and humility in Christ Jesus.

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.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west,and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities
    and bore our diseases.”  Matthew 8:5-17 New International Version (NIV)

Nobody goes to the hospital and demands healing because he is an important person in society. We approach a doctor with our health concerns not with our societal credentials. When the heart is desperately in need of Jesus’s help, obstacles which are only human-made are relegated to the background. This is what the Centurion exhibited and Jesus marveled at it.

Never mind your identity now, my dear one. You might be labeled as a sinner, or whatever it is, but what counts is a step of faith in Jesus and not who you are. For the Jew, the Gentile was impure to the extent that to enter the house of a Gentile was to defile oneself; so the Centurion would not even allow Jesus to enter probably because of this command. The healing word of God extends beyond our identity or how others perceive us to be. All that Jesus requires is faith in him, trusting that He alone can speak the word of healing into your broken life. May we come to Jesus with our intentions trusting that he will hear us and grant to us our requests.

Peace and Joy

Prayer

Father, we place our trust in You. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Your reign is everlasting. We surrender all to You, take charge, take control. Amen

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