Bible Story: Jesus and The Centurion's Servant
The healing of the Centurion's servant is most likely a true story...about real people.
In the Bible, this story comes right after Jesus has finished telling all those folks about...the Beatitudes. Someone once gave the Beatitudes another name.
The attitudes to be.
This story is wonderfully told. In all it's details; it throbs with life. It's told in a way that reminds us today...there were witnesses who saw and heard what Jesus is truly like...how He spoke; the things that He did so marvelously...He loved.
So, for what it's worth, I'm convinced that we have this beautiful story today...so that we will learn the two simple lessons of the Beatitudes
God is love. Now go and do likewise.
PARAPHRASE AND COMMENTARY LUKE CHAPTER 7 VERSES 1-10
When Jesus finished His Discourse He leaves the crowds behind and goes to Capernaum.
A Roman Centurion, a gentile, has a dear, sick servant who is about to die.
The Centurion heard about Jesus (His healing powers). He sends the Jewish elders of the synagogue in Capernaum to appeal to Jesus to come and heal the Centurion's servant.
And when the Elders found Jesus they urgently pleaded that the Centurion was worthy of this special request.
(and they gave two reasons )
#1- He, the Centurion, loves our nation, Israel.
#2- He built our synagogue.
(Now this is something unusual for a Roman military man to do. Paying to have the synagogue built was not only a costly thing to do. It also meant that he was publicly showing he loved and supported the Jews.)
So Jesus sets out with the Elders. And when they near the house, the Centurion sends his friends to Jesus saying, "I am not worthy for you to enter my home."
(Jewish law would make Jesus "unclean" for entering the home of a gentile. Implied is the humble courtesy of helping Jesus avoid this ritual uncleanness.)
"And that's why I also think, I, (the Centurion) am not worthy to come to you".
(In person - because the Jews have no dealings with, and keep themselves separate from, the gentiles. Someone once noticed that phrase about being "unworthy". It reminded them of what John the Baptist said...he was unworthy to tie Jesus sandals.)
"...just give the command, and my servant will be healed."
(He implies; you don't even need to touch him; your voice will carry the healing to him. And your person will not be stained by my uncleanness.)
(note that the Centurion twice says, he is unworthy.)
(He believes the voice of Jesus is sufficient because....)
"Like you, I am a man"
(he believes Jesus is a man. Perhaps a prophet?)
"set under authority."
(I too, get my orders from those who are higher up than me.)
"I have soldiers under my command and I say to one of them, "go", and he goes; and to another one "come", and he comes; and when I speak to my servant saying, "do this", he does it."
(Note: the last comment is NOT about soldiers -it's about his servant.)
(Does this hint at the motive behind the love he must feel for his loyal and obedient servant who is dying?)
(Is he responding to his own servant's need like our heavenly Father does?)
(How much this Roman Centurion understand something about the deep, abiding love of God?)
(God rewards loyalty, obedience and humility... with compassion, mercy and grace.)
(Note that NOTHING is said about the servant -except that he has a need. And this is important. Because the focus of the story is upon the Centurion's compassion. And his wonderful, amazing faith ....in Jesus Christ.)
And when Jesus heard this, he marveled at the man, and turned to His followers, and said, "I'm telling you, I have never, in all my travels, seen such faith; no, not even in Israel."
(Not even among the Jews).
And when the Centurion's friends and the Jewish Elders
(the text says, "they that were sent".)
(And in this short story, the Centurion has expressed the meekness and the love of Christ toward His servant in need. He makes no demand; instead he offers a plea on the part of another and that, not in person, but by those in authority under him, his "sent ones". )
(The Centurion sets aside his rank, his status and his power -like Jesus. This same Jesus, who came down from heaven, and set aside His Position, His Place and His Power; to focus His heart and mind upon the needs of mankind. By focusing on the need of the Other; he ignores his everyday Self and puts others first. His heart's desire is to best meet the need of the one he loves.
And this is the will of the Father who sent Him. To Love Others. To be loving. To forgive.
And when the Centurion's friends and the Elders came to the house, they found the servant restored, in perfect health, again.
(Here is the evidence of Jesus power. We all get this. But do we realize the message is NOT about power?)
(It is about a LOVE that listens and then meets our need in a loving way.)
(It is all about our loving God. How He works among us every day.)
(I can hear His voice, so near; softly saying..."Now go and do likewise".)