“I have not found such great faith, not even in the Church!”
Jesus is saying this to us this morning, with regards to the centurion’s faith. What the centurion did was so simple and so blessed, that I’ve taken a few notes. The centurion:
- loves God’s people
- has built a synagogue for them
- has a big problem in his life
- can’t help himself
- hears about Jesus
- sends elders of the Jews to Jesus to plead to Him to come
- sends friends to Jesus, saying, “Lord I’m not worthy for you to come to me.”
- says, through his friends, “I’m not worthy to come to you.”
- says, through his friends, “Say the word, and I know that my servant will be healed.”
- has his servant healed
Somewhere in this list of ten items is the secret of your success today. Somewhere in this list is the place where you’re stuck in your relationship with Jesus Christ, the one who can heal you. Where you want to be is, of course, #10. But getting to #10 is a process, the process of faith and faithfulness.
I can’t guarantee that if you follow the example of the centurion’s faith that you will be healed of your physical infirmities. If this were true, then you could rightfully say, “Physician, heal thyself!” because I’ve gone through the steps, and I still await my own physical healing.
But in that greatest miracle of all, the healing of your soul, God promises to bless all who truly come before Him with faith. The very act of coming before the Lord is itself an act of faithfulness because it takes faith to come and to come the way that God requires.
I find it interesting that even before the centurion has his need, even before he hears Jesus is coming, he has shown his faith by doing what is right in the eyes of God. In fact, the elders of the Jews use this as evidence of the centurion’s worthiness. While our own good works cannot make us worthy, as the centurion rightly recognized, they are evidence to God of our faith in Him and our willingness to obey Him.
Throughout the Bible we find that those who have been leading holy lives are those whom God chooses to specially bless. This centurion is an example, as is Cornelius, the God-fearing centurion who was a just man, feared God, and had a good reputation among the Jews. This Cornelius was a devout man and feared God with his entire household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. An angel of God appeared to him, saying, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God” (Acts 10).
Maybe the reason you are not healed is because you are only coming out of fear or desperation, and not a true faith that is shown by your deeds.
Maybe you’re still stuck on #4 because in the Big Problem of your life (you and God know what it is, even if I don’t) you’re still trying to solve things yourself. Maybe you don’t realize that you are, in fact, part of the problem (and sometimes all of it!)
Maybe you’re still stuck on #5 because you hear about Jesus but don’t do anything about it. “Jesus is coming!” the birds sing in the morning. “Jesus is coming!” the kids shout with their antics every day. “Jesus is coming!” the day’s toil chants. “Jesus is coming!” the arthritic creaks in my joints moan.
Jesus walks into my living room and my messy study each and every day of my life. And sometimes I don’t see Him, and I let Him walk right on by without asking Him to stop and help me. Sometimes, I can even write my Give Us This Day and be so engaged in this holy task that I get lost and lose sight of Him and myself.
Jesus is coming into your life this very moment. What are you going to do about it?
The centurion went to great lengths to go out and greet Jesus properly. Is this what you are doing in your life? The centurion found the elders of the Jews and sent them out to meet Jesus for him (#6 above), and when they had succeeded in directing His feet toward the centurion, the centurion also sent out his friends (#7 above). He went to great lengths to find Jesus.
But just as important as the lengths he went to in order to find Jesus was the attitude with which he sought Him. He didn’t go demanding healing for his servant. As a centurion, his natural mode would have been to send out those under his command and make some demand on Jesus. This is a man who is used to being in control, used to giving orders, and used to being obeyed. He’s rather like all of us!
And how did he go out to Jesus? With the humility of Mary. He sends out others, not as a show of his authority, but as a representative of his humility (#7-9 above). He did not believe himself worthy either to come to Jesus or to have Jesus come to him. In both cases, he was right. We are neither worthy to come before the King of kings and the Lord of Glory nor to have Him come before us.
But the One who humbled Himself to be like us will come to those who humble themselves before Him – and only to those who humble themselves. This is why in Luke 6 Jesus has just taught us “Blessed are the poor” and “Blessed are you who hunger now.”
After we have acknowledged our problem and, more importantly, that we are too weak to solve it, and after we have sought Jesus and found Him, and after we have humbly come before Him, there is only one thing left for us to do: pray that God will heal us. “Say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
So, where are you today in this centurion’s life? Where are you in your relationship to Jesus Christ, the One who is coming into your life today?
When you figure that out and faithfully act on it, then you will enter into the realm of the blessed.
Prayer: Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter my roof, and I am not worthy to come to You. But say the word, and Your servant will be healed. Amen.
Point for Meditation:
- What are some of the times and ways that Jesus Christ comes to you each day, and yet you miss Him?
- Consider finding some friends to help you come to Jesus today to seek healing.
Resolution: I resolve to meditate on what keeps me from seeking Jesus in faith. Having discovered this, I resolve to come humbly and faithfully to Jesus today, seeking Him and His blessing.
Jesus and the Centurion – U. S. Public Domain