Key Verse: “When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
IN TODAY’S LESSON, the blessed quality of faith is epitomized. A Roman centurion, a foreigner to the Jewish people, had come to love them and their great God. His goodwill was marked by a generous gift, a synagogue he built for the Jews of Capernaum. His sincerity was also intimated by reaching out to a Jew for help in a dire time of need. His beloved servant was sick unto death. A man of great means, the centurion could have his choice of the best physicians money could hire. He wisely chose to seek the help of The Great Physician—Jesus.
The centurion’s humility and faith are beautifully portrayed in this portion of Scripture. It may be inferred that this man, who commanded respect and wielded great authority, would expect Jesus to come to him. Instead, he sent messengers saying, “Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof.” (Luke 7:6) These words convey a tremendous meekness of spirit.
This centurion understood well the exercise of authority and obedience to it. In his profession he took orders as well as gave them, knowing how the chain of command worked. His instructions to those under him were doubtless followed by prompt obedience. By faith, the centurion knew Jesus also was one “set under authority”—that whatever he commanded would be done—and if Jesus would merely “say in a word,” his servant would be healed.—vss. 7,8
We learn from Matthew’s account that the centurion personally came to Jesus. (Matt. 8:5-13) Reflecting on that meeting, we see standing together the Savior of mankind and this noble soldier, epitomizing the beauties of faith, obedience, and godly authority. The centurion’s words are powerful: “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” (vss. 8,9, New American Standard Bible) This is a beautiful lesson for us who now believe. By faith we recognize Jesus’ authority in our lives, and we are to render humble obedience to him.
As stated in our Key Verse, Jesus had not yet met one with such faith as this man in all of Israel. Jesus marveled at how pure, simple, and strong his belief was. Indeed, faith in Christ yields to his authority, and daily obedience to godly principles is a means of grace to us. By this we give true honor to our Lord and grow in the fruits of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22,23) Thus, faith and obedience bring us great spiritual riches in the manifestation of the glorious likeness of Christ within us. Apostle Paul spoke of this as building on the foundation of Christ. We build with “gold, silver, precious stones,” symbols of the word and Spirit of God.—I Cor. 3:11,12
If our Lord would exercise his power to heal a man’s servant, unknown to him, how much more will he exercise his power to heal the hearts and provide for those who are known to him. We do not seek physical healing, but healing of our spirits. In so doing, let our hearts trust him in all things, as the centurion said, “Just say the word,” and it shall be done.