When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith…Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. Matthew 8: 5-11, 13 NIV
This exchange between the Centurion of Capernaum and Jesus always strikes me. This military man who understood a line of command and significance of obedience somehow knew Jesus had the authority to heal his servant.
Jesus called this great faith.
But his faith is not all I appreciate. I’m moved by all the centurion’s actions related here and so, I may add, was Jesus.
- The centurion came seeking Jesus for the sake of his servant. He must have been a compassionate man.
- The centurion may not have been Jewish and still sought Jesus out and called him Lord. He must have been an intuitive man.
- The centurion recognized Jesus’ authority over him saying, I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof. He must have been a humble man.
When I consider this interchange I often wonder if Jesus would have considered my faith great. Like the centurion I was desperate and sought Jesus. But unlike him, I sought Jesus through the his word and hopeful prayer. Jesus, nonetheless, answered my cry and whispered his love in my heart.
Romans 4:20-21 says Abraham grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God. I believe our faith also grows as we see and acknowledge God’s hand in our lives.
It would be interesting to know the rest of the Centurion’s story. Did he follow Jesus? Was he a member of the early church? How did his faith grow?
We don’t know his story, but each of us has a story of our own. God is at work in all of us. The question is whether we will seek Jesus with the faith we have. I pray you do.
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:20-21 NIV