Jesus heals a centurion’s servant
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man 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 the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.’
Jesus said: … in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
Today we hear of the faith of a hated enemy of the Jewish people. A centurion, a senior officer in the Roman military machine, comes to Jesus in great need. That need was not for self, for family or for friends but, rather, it was for a servant who was lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress. Such compassion would not have been expected of such a man. As he came to Jesus fearful Jews would have stepped back. The arrogance of a centurion would have left them curious about his intentions. It is easy to imagine those who were gathered around Jesus straining to hear what was going on. Imagine their surprise, then, as they heard the centurion’s request on behalf of a servant followed by the words: Lord, I am not worthy. In response to this moving scene Jesus says: … in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
We all run the risk of putting self before others, of viewing ourselves as being more deserving, more entitled than those around us. As others, for whatever reason, put us on pedestals of varying heights we become inflated with the deadly sin of pride. Then, as we absorb the respect, and perhaps the adulation of others, our hearts become hardened, and we become blind to the needs of this world.
Today we are shown what true faith means. Today we see an outsider demonstrate that which should be a first response for all who profess a faith in Jesus Christ. Sadly, too many Christians say the right things but fall short when it comes to action. Too many keep Christian love and compassion locked away safely and securely, forgetting Christ’s call to live the life of love in his name.
Let us pray that we might ever be aware of the needs of others, and that we might ever be ready to love and serve in true faith and humility, always placing ourselves at the back of the queue.