One more time we’re going to look at the “faith of the Centurion” part of Luke chapter 7, because there’s something that happens later in this event that consistently blows my mind and increases my faith. Here’s where we’re at.
Luke 7:1-5 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people, he returned to Capernaum. 2 At that time the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. 3 When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave.4 So they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. “If anyone deserves your help, he does,” they said, 5 “for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.”
So far, we’ve already looked at the value of the slave and the method of approach that the officer used to get to Jesus. And as we continue to read you see that it worked and Jesus goes with them, but the officer pulls a very unexpected move.
Luke 7:6-8 So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. 7 I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 8 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
Now, I will say, if the officer never intended to have Jesus come to the house, why send for him and have him make most of the trip to the house? But maybe that’s just me being picky. But what I do know is that this Roman, a man who wasn’t even one of God’s people at this point, had a very advanced understanding of how power and authority worked. Let’s look at what Jesus thought of being stopped from even coming into the house.
Luke 7:9-10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” 10 And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.
If you can do something that leaves Jesus feeling amazed you’re doing something pretty incredible in life. There’s so much in this moment from Jesus’ ministry that speaks to great faith, and truthfully, my intention when I started today’s entry was to speak about the incredible faith of the officer. However, I see something a little different here that I want to address.
The officer was able to have this great faith because he connected something from his own life to the life of Jesus. They were both men of authority. And I think I just feel like it’s important for us to ask ourselves, how do we connect to Jesus/God? On a personal, one on one level, what is our connection/common ground with our Lord? My whole life I had a fear that submitting to God would steal away my creativity and originality and transform me into a religious zombie that stood around and quoted scripture all day. Guess what I’ve come to learn? Creativity is something that God and I have in common. He is the chief creator, the architect of all things, and when you look around at nature and animals and even just the huge differences between humans, you realize that God is wildly imaginative. He and I have that common. I know the heart of a creator because that heart beats in my own chest.
God’s a parent. Maybe you’re a hardworking parent and you need to remember that you have one of the closest connections to the heart of God that is possible to obtain in this life. When you struggle with your rebellious children, you are feeling exactly what God has felt since right around the creation of mankind. When your heart swells with love as you look upon your child, you’re feeling a tiny percentage of how God feels as He looks upon you.
These connections are there for every single one of us. Are you an accountant? Well as you bring order to numbers and to systems, remember that God is a God of order. I really believe that we all have one or more connections to the character and heart of our Creator, and I think it’s really vital to our relationship with Him to make ourselves aware of those connections. Look what it did for the Roman officer. Recognizing the connection between himself and Jesus allowed him to build a faith so mighty that it amazed Jesus, and in turn, it led to the healing of his valued slave.
Practically speaking, I don’t know where heaven is, but I know that there can be days where God feels far off. Find your connections to Him, it helps remind you that He is ever-present. If you can’t find your connections, pray about it, ask Him to help you see what they are. When you connect with someone on common ground, it’s easier to grow close to them, it deepens your connection and thus your relationship. There’s nothing God wants more than a deeper relationship with each one of us.
That’s it for the “faith of the Centurion” section of Luke, but it shouldn’t surprise you at this point to know that we still have quite a ways to go before being done with the book itself. I love all of you very much and I look forward to continuing this study with you on Thursday!
If you have any prayer requests or just need to talk, my email is always open to you at firstname.lastname@example.org.