Good Morning! and a Blessed New Year! I have returned – with a cold – It was good to see family, and have some time to rest. We are going back now to where we left off in our study of Luke:
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.’ And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also 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 the slave does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
Luke transitions with the phrase, “After Jesus had finished” – he is moving into a new place and topic. Now, Jesus enters Capernaum. We have seen the synagogue at Capernaum, built on the foundation of a first century synagogue. The man in this story built that first century synagogue for the people of Capernaum.
This story is about Jesus’ interaction with a foreigner, a Roman officer. Often, the Romans were hated, but in this case, this officer had been in Capernaum for some time; he had made friends with the people, including their religious leaders, and he had built the synagogue for them. He was known as a good man. This officer sent the religious leaders from the synagogue there to meet Jesus and ask him to heal his servant. This again was unusual; the Roman officer was concerned about a servant, a slave. But he was, and so, he sent to ask Jesus to heal the man. And those who came to Jesus on his behalf told Jesus about him, that he was a good man and deserving to have Jesus do this. Note: Jesus did not ask if the man was deserving; this was information they volunteered.
Jesus went with them – but before he arrived, the Centurion sent another messenger. Through that messenger he said that he was not worthy to have Jesus come into his house, but that if Jesus just said the word, he knew the servant would be healed. For he knew something about authority, he exercised authority, and lived under it. In this instance, he yields to Jesus’ authority. He knew that through Jesus’ authority, the sick would be healed. Just say so, he pleaded, and my servant will be made well.
Jesus heard this message, and turned to the crowd to say, “Not even in Israel have I found such faith.” While the Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus’ authority, this officer of the hated Roman army believed that Jesus had the authority to cure the sick – he simply believed. And because of his belief, because he lifted up his slave and asked Jesus to heal him, he was healed. Those who had come to Jesus returned to the house and found that it was so.