Scripture: Luke 7:1-10 1 After he had ended all his sayings in the hearing of the people he entered Caper'na-um. 2 Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. 3 When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue."6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7 therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I am a man set 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 he does it." 9 When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.
And he saw in Jesus both the power and the mercy of God to heal and restore life. In the Roman world the position of centurion was very important. He was an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. In a certain sense, he was the backbone of the Roman army, the cement which held the army together.
Polybius, an ancient write, describes what a centurion should be: "They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable; they ought not to be over-anxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed, they must be ready to hold their ground, and die at their posts."
The centurion who approached Jesus was not only courageous, but faith-filled as well. He risked the ridicule of his Roman companions by seeking help from a Jewish preacher from Galilee, as well as mockery from the Jews who despised Roman occupation of their land. Nonetheless, this centurion approached Jesus with confidence and humility.
Augustine notes that the centurion regarded himself as unworthy to receive the Lord into his house: "Humility was the door through which the Lord entered to take full possession of one whom he already possessed."
The centurion was an extraordinary man because he loved his slave. In the Roman world slaves were treated like animals rather than people.
The centurion was also an extraordinary man of faith. He believed that Jesus had the power to heal his beloved slave. Jesus commends him for his faith and immediately grants him his request.
Are you willing to suffer ridicule in the practice of your faith?
And when you need help, do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith?