Scripture: Luke 7:1-10 (alternate reading: John 19:25-27)
1 After he had ended all his sayings in the hearing of the people he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. 3 When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue."6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7 therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I 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 slave, `Do this,' and he does it." 9 When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.
Meditation: Do you seek the Lord Jesus with confidence and pray with expectant faith? A Roman official boldly sought Jesus with a daring request. What made him confident that Jesus would receive his request and act favorably towards him? Like a true soldier, he knew the power of command. And he saw in Jesus both the power and the mercy of God to heal and restore life. In the Roman world the position of centurion was very important. He was an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. In a certain sense, he was the backbone of the Roman army, the cement which held the army together. Polybius, an ancient write, describes what a centurion should be: "They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable. They ought not to be over-anxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed, they must be ready to hold their ground, and die at their posts."
The centurion who approached Jesus was not only courageous, but
faith-filled as well. He risked the ridicule of his Roman
companions by seeking help from a Jewish preacher from Galilee, as
well as mockery from the Jews who despised Roman occupation of
their land. Nonetheless, this centurion approached Jesus with
confidence and humility. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) notes
that the centurion regarded himself as unworthy to receive the
Lord into his house: "Humility was the door through which the Lord
entered to take full possession of one whom he already possessed."
The centurion was an extraordinary man because he loved his slave.
In the Roman world slaves were treated like animals rather than
people. The centurion was also an extraordinary man of faith. He
believed that Jesus had the power to heal his beloved slave.
Jesus commends him for his faith and immediately grants him his
Are you willing to suffer ridicule in the practice of your faith? And when you need help, do you approach the Lord Jesus confidently with expectant faith?
"Lord Jesus you came to set us free from the tyranny of sin,
selfishness, and fear. Increase my faith in the power of your
saving word and give me joy and freedom to love and serve others
generously for their sake just as you have generously laid down
your life for my sake."
2 Hear the voice of my supplication, as I cry to you for help, as
I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.
6 Blessed be the LORD! for he has heard the voice of my supplications.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
8 The LORD is the strength of his people, he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 O save your people, and bless your heritage; be their shepherd, and carry them for ever.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The power of Divinity and the grace of humility, by Ambrose of Milan, 339-397 A.D.
"How great is the sign of divine humility, that the Lord of
heaven by no means disdained to visit the centurionís servant!
Faith is revealed in deeds, but humanity is more active in
compassion. Surely he did not act this way because he could not
cure in his absence, but in order to give you a form of humility
for imitation he taught the need to defer to the small and the
great alike. In another place he says to the ruler, 'Go, your son
lives' (John 4:50), that you may know both the power of Divinity
and the grace of humility. In that case he refused to go to the
ruler's son, lest he seem to have had regard for riches. In this
case he went himself lest he seem to have despised the humble rank
of the centurion's servant. All of us, slave and free, are one in
Christ )Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11)." (excerpt from EXPOSITION
OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.84)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.
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