SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
Passage: Luke 7:1-10 (NKJV)
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
“Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.””
Memory Verse Luke 7:9b (NIV)
“I TELL YOU I HAVE NOT FOUND SUCH GREAT FAITH IN ISRAEL….”
After Jesus had finished his teachings and instructions on the plain, he left for the place he had chosen as his residence, Capernaum. It looks as if Jesus returned to Capernaum after every missionary tour. Capernaum was a populous and favored lake-city. So it is not surprising that he returned to Capernaum after his teaching on the plain as Luke recorded.
In the City of Capernaum lived a Centurion, believed to be a Syrian, whose valued servant was sick and had almost reached the point of death. This Centurion had come to believe in the Jewish God and subsequently joined the Jewish religion. He had built a synagogue for the Jews in the vicinity where he lived. This implies that he worshiped with the Jews at the synagogue regularly. He seems to have won the hearts of many Jews contrary to what was the norm. Many Jews did not like the soldiers and other people who were sent to Palestine by the Roman Government either for collection of taxes or security reasons. Yet this man was loved by the Jews to the extent that he found some Jewish elders to beseech Jesus on behalf of his sick slave. Again the love this Centurion had for his sick slave, not his own child, also shows the state his heart.
The Army Commander sent the Jewish elders to seek Jesus’ assistance because he believed in his power to heal sicknesses. In fact later statements made by the man shows that he believed Jesus commanded authority over sicknesses. Due to the great faith he had in Jesus, this man sought assistance from no one else apart from Jesus. The Centurion’s faith in Jesus is worth mentioning because not many Jews in Capernaum believed in Jesus’ power to heal sicknesses. Yet a non-Jew like the Centurion believed that Jesus was capable of healing his sick servant. It is surprising how some Christians are taught how to believe in Jesus by some non-Christians. Sometimes those of us who claim to be Christians fail to demonstrate our faith in Jesus in the things that so matter to us. If a non-Jew believed in Jesus’ power to heal his sick servant, what can we also trust God for? We should learn to believe that nothing is impossible for our God.
Many Jews believed that the works of a man can pave way for him. So when they went to see Jesus to tell him about the Centurion’s sick servant, they tried to persuade Jesus as to why he needed to pay heed to their requests to go and heal the sick servant. They mentioned the Centurion’s credentials as someone who loves their nation and the synagogue he has built for them as the reasons why Jesus needed to go with them. Jesus went with them after meeting them just as he did for many who went to him. It goes to show that Jesus attends to the needs of those who believe him and seek help from him. It is important to mention that Jesus did not follow the Jewish elders to the Centurion’s home because of what he had done but because of his great his faith. He believed in the supremacy of the God of Israel as well as Jesus’ power to heal sicknesses. It is not our works which draw God’s attention to us but our faith.
As Jesus and the Jewish elders approached the Centurion’s house, he demonstrated greater faith in Jesus when he persuaded Jesus not to come to his house because he was unworthy. The acknowledgement of his unworthiness before Jesus is an acknowledgement of his sinfulness and the holiness of Yeshua Ha’ Mashiack. This was another demonstration of faith in Jesus as the holy son of God. As if that was not enough he made a great statement of faith when he said:
BUT SAY THE WORD, AND MY SERVANT WILL BE HEALED… (v. 7b).
He showed faith in the power of Jesus’ words when he made the above statement. This showed his greater faith in Jesus. He did not only believe in the power of Jesus over diseases, he also believed in the power of Jesus’ words. He believes that Jesus had so much power over all things and his commands are expressly carried out just as the army commander’s words are carried out by his subordinates. Jesus commended the Centurion’s faith because he believed in Jesus as well as his words. Unfortunately, this has not been the case with many Christians. Many Christians fail to believe in the words that Jesus has spoken to us as we find in the scriptures. Sometimes we fail to believe that Jesus can cause anything to happen in our lives no matter how it may seem to tarry. We need to believe in Jesus at all times and in all circumstances.
Sadly enough there are Christians with little faith in the power of Jesus to answer their prayers. They sometimes think that they need something special other than their own fasting and prayers to have their requests answered. Instead of believing in their own prayers they tend to believe in the touch of some mighty men of God, oils, candles, salt, water, handkerchiefs and other materials given them by some ‘powerful messengers of God’. We should desist from placing our faith in certain items and place our faith in the person, works and words of Jesus Christ. For it is only by faith in Christ can we be saved! May the Lord help us develop deeper faith in him!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.