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.”
7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”
8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come into my home. Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. Turning to those who were following Him, He said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.
There was something different about this Roman centurion. He was humble and reverent, and on top of that, he had the kind of faith we all long for and need. He had storm-stopping, mountain-moving, sea-parting, water-walking, blind-seeing, deaf-hearing, mute-talking, sickness-healing faith. This gentile heathen had a deep abiding faith that even the Jews, God’s chosen people couldn’t match.
He had boundless, unswerving faith, that was undettered by time, distance, or space. His faith was undiminished by circumstance, logic or “reality”. His faith was dauntless, in spite of what his fellow centurions thought. His faith was unmoved by the faithlessness of his superiors, subordinates and peers.
This centurion only knew that he had a need, and only ONE could help him, and he was willing to humble himself, forsaking his status as a Roman officer, by approaching the Jewish Rabbi with reverence. “Lord,” he respectfully addressed Jesus, despite the fact that his clothing was much more costly than this Nazarene’s clothing. Regardless of the fact that this Roman centurion had so much more than this homeless Jewish peasant, he meekly approached Jesus, telling Him, “my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”
You see, this Roman Centurion somehow knew that it was senseless to pray to the numerous Roman deities for his servant’s health, for they were merely the figments of men’s imaginations, with no real power. He knew that if his servant was to survive his terrible affliction, he would have to seek help from Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, King of kings and Lord of lords. He knew that he needed help from the Creator and Lifegiver, and so he unashamedly approached Jesus and before he could even ask Jesus for help, Jesus offered to come immediately to his house.
Now, just imagine how he must have felt at that moment, in the presence of the Almighty, when Jesus offered to go to his home. I’m reminded of the prophet Isaiah’s response, when he was in the presence of the Lord…
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
Cheryl A. Showers