Friday, January 13, 2012

A Centurion's Faith

The Faith of the Centurion
 5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
 8 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. 9 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.

Hey! You made it!  Glad you continued to scroll all the way down here.  This story of the Centurion has been on my mind for a few days.  What an example of utter faith!  Not just the 'trained' faith of a professional soldier who trusts the orders he receives and trusts the orders he gives will be followed.  This is more, this is deeper!

Who could have been less deserving of Jesus' healing than the servant of a hated Roman?  Most Jews despised Gentiles and loathed Romans.  They wanted Jesus to be for them. On their terms.  God had many other greater plans than that.

The centurion knows he is not worthy.  Soldier, leader and believer.  He could be killed by his own command for his faith...and yet he was asking for a healing for someone of his household.  Not a family member, not a friend but a servant.  This man's heart shone brighter than his breastplate.  He stood on the street and asked in total faith that Jesus would heal with a word.  A word.

The centurion knows he is not worthy.  Uncircumcised, eating 'unclean foods' and a blooded soldier.  He knows this.  He also knows he is totally and completely able to ask for this!  He knows it.  His faith is just as valid as that of any other who followed and continues to follow Jesus.  The world says he is not worthy, God says he is.

Jesus was amazed. AMAZED!  Our Lord was amazed.  Not that he was asked for this. Not amazed that it was a Roman Centurion.  He was AMAZED at this man's FAITH! His FAITH that required NO EVIDENCE.  No ACTION beyond a word.  His faith showed everyone that faith doesn't have boundaries.

Jesus was amazed.  He took the opportunity to remind his disciples that God's table would have room for all who believed, and that your faith is what bought your seat!  Not your genealogy or family name.  Faith. Faith.  The faith of a Centurion.  

The Centurion saw the worst in people, saw blood and war, horror and felt fear.  He knew the worst the world could do.  Was probably ordered to be a part of it.  And yet he came, in faith, to his Lord. And he asked. And he believed. And he needed only a word.

Can you be like the Centurion?  Can you ask God and then trust His word?  Stop asking for signs and wonders.  Start seeking earnestly and accepting that God will have done what you need the moment you asked.  Just because we don't get the answer we want doesn't mean God didn't answer!

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