The Faith of the Centurion
The Bible records an incident regarding the faith of a centurion. “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 this gentile man and went to heal his servant. But when he was close to the house, the man 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 gentile man. In contrast, the Jewish elders who recommended the gentile to Christ had shown their unbelief in Jesus. They merely commended the this man because of the favor he had shown to the nation, but they themselves did not feel their need for salvation. The man 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 trust took hold of Christ. He did not believe in Him merely as a supernatural person but as a friend and Savior.
The man’s faith proved much greater than the Israelites’ in that he revealed a simple trust in God when he said, “For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does 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 Roman man who was born in heathenism and idolatry with no spiritual life and trained as a soldier to hate Israel, he accepted the truth that the descendants of Abraham did not see.
In His service,