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Matthew 8:5-13 (NIV)
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 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. 9 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.” 10 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. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 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.
In Jesus’s day, the Romans were occupying Israel. They were the enemy. Yet, this foreigner comes to Jesus because he believes that Jesus has the power and the divine authority to heal one of his servants. This would be like a member of the ISIS terrorist group asking a pastor to pray for the healing of his maid! But the Roman goes a step further by declaring that he, the officer whose government has complete political authority in Israel, is beneath Jesus and not deserving of having Jesus come to his home. Shockingly, Jesus is shocked by this man’s faith (Matt. 8:10). He describes it as greater than any Jewish person! What is the state of our own faith? Do we truly believe that we do not deserve God’s presence, love or grace? Yet, praise God because that is what we are given at the cross! Let us pray that God would give us shocking faith like the centurion.