Why did Jesus praise the faith of the centurion above the faith of the Israelites?

The Bible records that “a certain centurion’s servant…was sick, and ready to die” (Luke 7:2). When the centurion heard of Jesus he sent to Him the elders of the Jews, requesting that He would come and heal his servant (Luke 7:3-5). This centurion had manifested respect for the service of God and had shown kindness to the Jews as His worshipers.

Jesus responded to the request of the centurion and went to heal his servant. But when he was close to the house, the centurion sent friends to Jesus saying, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:6, 7).

Jesus praised the great faith of the centurion. In contrast, the Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown their unbelief in Jesus. They merely commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to the nation, but they themselves did not feel their need for salvation. The centurion said of himself, “I am not worthy.” His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ and he saw his own unworthiness. He trusted not to his own goodness; his appeal was his great need. His faith took hold of Christ. He did not believe in Him merely as a supernatural person but as a friend and Savior.

The centurion’s faith proved much greater than the Israelites’ in that he elaborated a simple trust in God, “For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it” (Luke 7:8). When Jesus heard these words, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Luke 7:9).

The Jews had been taught from childhood about the coming Savior, but when Jesus came, they rejected Him. In contrast, the centurion who was born in heathenism and idolatry with no spiritual life and trained as a Roman soldier to hate Israel, he accepted the truth that the descendants of Abraham did not see.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

Sign Up for Our Updates

Get notified of our latest updates. Don't worry, they're occasional :)

You May Also Like