I marvel at the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13. Here is a man of authority with soldiers under him who humbly comes to Jesus with a request to heal his servant. “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented,” he tells Jesus (8:6, NASB).” His request shows such love for his servant, such concern for his well-being.
The scripture does not tell us, but I imagine the centurion trying everything to ease his servants pain. But he discovers that even though he has authority over others, there is nothing he can do to heal his servant. At some point he decided to go to this Jesus he has heard about; this Jesus that is healing people. Not an easy thing for a military man used to telling people what to do.
When he encounters Jesus he makes his request, “Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him (8:7).’” To which the centurion replies, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed (8:8).” He goes on to explain that when he instructs people to do something, they do it. He wants Jesus to do the same.
It’s a statement that humbled me. I have spent decades in the church fellowshipping with other Christians. I have studied the Word of God for years. I have listened to hundreds of sermons on the Bible. And yet it is a centurion who shows us what true faith in Jesus is about — to humbly go before Jesus and admit you are not worthy; to humbly tell him, “just say the word.”
Jesus marvels at the centurion’s faith, telling the people gathered there, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel (8:10).” It’s an astounding statement to say that this centurion demonstrated more faith in God with his simple act than the Israelites. It’s a statement that makes me ponder how much I trust God — how much faith I have in him to answer my prayers. As requested, Jesus does say the word and the centurion’s servant is healed at that moment.
© 2020, CGThelen