5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, 6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”
I love when the Lord speaks directly to my heart through His word. It gets me all excited and wound up as I begin to ponder what He is telling me. Then, as I begin to wrap my mind around things that I’ve read many, many times before, suddenly, He opens the eyes of my heart so that I can see what I didn’t see before, and my ears begin to hear what I didn’t hear before. I’ve read this story many times in the past, and have heard many teachings on it, but now, the Lord is speaking directly to my heart again, and I am taking note of things that I didn’t see before.
Let’s examine this small passage, because it is extremely important, and I want to make sure
you I fully comprehend the message that is conveyed here. After leaving the mountain, where He had just preached and taught His “Sermon on the Mount”, just as He was coming down the mountain, Jesus was approached by a leper, who said to Him, “Lord, if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus immediately replied that He was willing, and the leper was healed… You see, after He had just shared the good news that the Kingdom of Heaven was near, miracles, signs and wonders followed His teaching.
I love this story, because it is here that we begin to see the will of God… “Lord, if You are willing…”
Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.
“Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”
Let’s look closely at the words of this Roman centurion. First, look at how the centurion addressed Jesus, the Jew… “Lord…”
Lord — Kurios — Greek
he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord
the possessor and disposer of a thing
the owner; one who has control of the person, the master
in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor
is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master
this title is given to: God, the Messiah
This, all by itself is powerful. You see, the Romans occupied and ruled the Jews’ homeland. These were dark days for the Jews, who thought of their Roman occupiers as dogs. Also, as the occupying force, the Roman soldiers, officers, governors, etc., had little or no respect for the Jews. Indeed, as the occupying force, the Romans demanded obeisance from the Jews. They certainly showed little if any respect to the Jews, and they most assuredly did not refer to even the Jewish priests with reverence, let alone a Jewish peasant, which was how many perceived Jesus.
The Romans were a cruel lot, demonstrating their strength in brute force, as they bullied the citizens into servitude with the threat of Roman justice, which included cruel lashings, being bound and imprisoned in the deepest darkest dungeons, burning people on a stake, throwing people into an arena with gladiators, and wild animals for sport as they watched them fight to the death, and of course, the dreaded death on a cross. Roman soldiers and centurions were trained in the art of cruelty. Indeed, they viewed their behavior as normal and right. It was just a part of everyday life. This is what makes the centurion’s approach to Jesus so remarkable. Had he behaved in the normal way of Roman centurions, he likely would have ordered his guards to capture Jesus and bring Him to him. Further, He would have ordered and demanded that Jesus come to him and to his house and heal his servant. And yet, he did none of those things…
Rather than sending one of the soldiers or a guard to apprehend Jesus and bring Him to him, the centurion approached Jesus and pleaded with Him…
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him…
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him…
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a Roman officer met Him and begged for help…
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him…
And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him...
No matter what version of this scripture we read, the Roman officer’s homage to Jesus is clear. Rather than ordering and demanding that Jesus obey him, the centurion approached Him desperately, reverently and unashamedly before a whole crowd of people. This Roman officer did the unthinkable! He humbled himself to Jesus in front of everyone who was present. It didn’t matter to him that this crowd of people witnessed his submission to Jesus. All that mattered was that Jesus heal his servant.
Isn’t it astonishing that this unchurched heathen knew how to approach the Lord? Not only did this centurion display great faith, he also displayed great reverence as he approached the Lord, and this is something we should all do!
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
My beloved readers, one of the things we learn from this Roman centurion, (whose request was honored by Jesus) is that we must humbly and reverently approach Him with our requests...
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.
~ James 4:10 — NLT ~
Heavenly Father, please watch over my readers and followers and me too, and let us seek You with all of our hearts. Teach us how to humble ourselves before You, and revere You, because You alone are worthy of all glory and honor and praise. Lord, fill each of our hearts with Your Holy Spirit. Save those who don’t know You, and draw those who have abandoned You back. Lord, I pray that the men and women who read this post will each have hearts that long for You, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Cheryl A. Showers