October 19, 2006

The Faith of a Centurion

Matthew 8:5-13

"I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith." Matthew 8:10


The centurion in Capernaum had heard about Jesus and his miracles, so he came to ask Jesus to heal his servant, who was suffering.

A centurion was a Roman officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. The soldiers had to do whatever their centurion ordered, and the centurion had to follow orders from the Roman emperor. The emperor's ability to control the vast Roman Empire depended on the obedience of all soldiers and commanders.

This centurion said to Jesus: "Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me." The centurion's understanding of authority shed light on his faith in Jesus. He recognized that Jesus had authority over the forces of nature and diseases. So he believed Jesus could heal his servant, even at a distance.

In the faith of this Gentile believer, Jesus saw the day when people would "come from the east and the west" and "take their places at the feast ... in the kingdom of heaven." In God's plan, the covenant community of the Jews becomes the new community of believers in Jesus, which welcomes citizens into God's kingdom from all nations of the world.

Jesus stood at the center of the centurion's faith. Is he at the center of your faith too?

Dear Jesus, give us such faith that all our thoughts and actions will honor your sovereign authority over all things. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Roger S. Greenway

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