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The Centurion’s Faith

(Based on the  7th Chapter of Luke )

In the city of Capernaum in Israel, there lived a prominent officer of the Roman army, a centurion responsible for a garrison of a hundred soldiers. He and his men had kept watch on Jesus’ doings ever since He began His work there. It was their duty to make sure that this Galilean wasn’t doing or saying anything to incite a rebellion against Rome.

But after hearing Jesus teach the people from time to time about God’s Heavenly Kingdom of Love, the Centurion had come to respect Jesus, realising that the Kingdom He talked about was hardly a threat to Rome, which in spite of all its power and greatness, could stand to benefit from some of this love!

One day when the Centurion’s closest servant became deathly ill, immediately he thought of all Jesus had done for the sick & the lame, and he wondered, “Could it be that He could heal my servant?”

But there was a problem: How could he, being a Roman, approach an Isrealite for help, in a day when most Isrealites despised the armies of Caesar? Could it be that this Jesus, known for His love and care for all people, would be willing to reach beyond His Own race, even to help someone with whom the Isrealites were at odds?

Suddenly he thought of a way, “Surely I can call some of the Jewish elders,” he reasoned, “respected men with whom I’ve had dealings, and they can talk to Jesus for me!” So the elders who were greatly indebted to the Centurion for the favour he had shown to their people, went and told Jesus of the Centurion’s request for the healing of his servant, saying, “This man is truly worthy of Your help. He loves our nation and has even personally helped finance the building of our synagogue!”

So Jesus agreed to go, but when He was not far from it, the Centurion sent friends with a message saying, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. Just say the word and my servant will be healed! For I am a man in authority with soldiers under my command, and I say to one, ‘Go’, and he goes, and to another, ‘Come’, and he comes. And if I tell my servant, ‘Do this’, then he does it.”

Now when Jesus heard these words, He marvelled, and declared to those who followed Him, “I have not found such great faith, no, not in all Israel!” What an incredible statement for Jesus to make before His Own Jewish brethren, that this Roman Gentile had stronger faith than anyone in all Israel!

Here was a Roman soldier, a prominent officer, yet he hadn’t even felt worthy of going to see Jesus himself, nor of having Jesus enter his home. But he believed that Jesus could heal his servant even at a distance without coming personally to his home! And that is exactly what happened!

The Bible says that finally Jesus met the Centurion outside his house, and at the very same moment that Jesus commended him for his great faith, his servant was instantly healed! And that Centurion who’d humbled himself before the Lord was suddenly catapulted into God’s Hall of Fame for all time because Jesus had seen great faith in him.

And Jesus, being pleased with the faith of the Centurion, said, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would!” And his servant was healed at that very same hour!

Imagine the officer arriving home, seeing his servant smiling and perfectly whole, so thankful for what had been done! And the Centurion turns to him saying, “You can give thanks unto God that you are healed!–Because of Jesus of Nazareth! He is the One Who has done this miracle!”

Such things can still happen today, and they do happen to those with faith enough to simply believe that God means what He says! He’s just as real as ever! God is alive and well and working just as powerfully as ever among those who trust in Him. He says, “I am the Lord, I change not!” (Malachi 3:6) And “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) “If you believe, all things are possible to him that believes!” (Mark 9:23)

The day of miracles is not past! God is still in the business of transforming the bodies that need it, as well as the hearts and minds and spirits! To heal is a small thing for Him, the God of Creation! He who created the body can certainly repair it! The One Who made us can certainly fix us! His Word says, “Unto you that fear My Name shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings!” (Malachi 4:2)

Points to Ponder 

(1) This story provides us with a perfect illustration of how we get answers to prayer. The Centurion’s faith was in the Word of Jesus. He didn’t have to see or touch Jesus in order to get what he needed. In fact, Jesus said, “Go thy way. And as you have believed, so be it done for you.” (Matthew 8:13) And although Jesus never entered the house or saw the servant, He healed him just the same.

(2) Remember, you’ve got all the promises of God in the whole Bible on your side! So when you pray, bring those promises with you. When you remind God of His Word, it shows you have faith in it. It’s a positive declaration of your faith in God’s Word that pleases God. (See Hebrews 11:6.)

(3) It didn’t require years of theological training for the Centurion to have faith! He just believed with simple childlike faith, and God blessed him for it.

(4) Even though he felt this unworthiness, his faith compelled him to take positive action by sending messengers to contact Jesus for him. Often we feel so small and unworthy of God’s help, yet by contacting Jesus through the power of prayer, we are doing our part–the part we can do–and God will do the rest, the part we can’t do!

(5) If you need assurance and faith to believe God will answer your prayers, here are some wonderful verses to read and stand on whenever you pray:

John 15:7 — If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.

Jeremiah 29:13 — And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with ALL your heart.

1. John 3:22 — And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments and DO those things that are pleasing in His sight.

James 4:8 — Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you!

1. John 5:14 — And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Image: The Centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant, by Clive Uptton
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