The Centurion’s Servant

Key Verse: “I didn’t presume to come to you. But just say the word, and let my servant be healed.”
—Luke 7:7, International Standard Version

Selected Scripture:
Luke 7:1-10

A ROMAN CENTURION, A foreigner to the Jewish people, loved the Israelites and their great God. His goodwill was marked by a generous gift, a synagogue he built for the Jews at Capernaum. His sincerity was also intimated by reaching out to a Jew, Jesus, 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 physician which money could buy. He wisely chose to seek the help of Jesus—the Great Physician.—Luke 7:1-5

The humility and faith of the centurion are beautifully portrayed in our lesson. One might have assumed that a man such as this, who commanded respect and wielded great authority, would expect Jesus to come to him. Instead, he sent messengers to Jesus, saying, “Stop troubling yourself, because I’m not worthy to have you come under my roof.” (vs. 6, ISV) These words convey humility and meekness.

The centurion understood well the principles conveyed in the exercising of authority and obedience. In his profession he took and gave orders, 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,” and that whatever he commanded would be done.—vs. 7

From Matthew’s account, we learn the centurion personally came to Jesus. (Matt. 8:5-13) The centurion’s words are powerful: “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed, because I, too, am a man under authority and I have soldiers under me. I say to one of them Go and he goes, to another Come and he comes, and to my servant Do this and he does it. When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and told those who were following him, I tell you with certainty, not even in Israel have I found this kind of faith!”—vss. 8-10, ISV

Here is a beautiful lesson for each follower of Christ. By faith, we recognize Jesus’ authority in our lives and render humble obedience to him. As stated in the foregoing verses, Jesus had not met one with such faith as this Roman centurion in all of Israel. Jesus marveled at how pure, simple, and strong his faith was.

Indeed, faith in Christ yields to his authority and daily obedience to godly principles. By this we give true honor to our Lord as his disciples and grow in the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (John 15:8; 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, expensive stones,” symbols of the Word and Spirit of God. (I Cor. 3:11,12, ISV) If our Lord would exercise his power to heal this centurion’s servant, a person 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 the healing of our spirits. In so doing, let our hearts trust him in all things and, as the centurion said, “Just say the word,” and it shall be done.