5 When Jesus entered Capernaum, a Roman commander came to him. He asked Jesus for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home and can’t move. He is suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said, “I will go and heal him.” 8 The commander replied, “Lord, I am not good enough to have you come into my house. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 I myself am a man under authority. And I have soldiers who obey my orders. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes. I tell that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. He said to those following him, “What I’m about to tell you is true. In Israel I have not found anyone whose faith is so strong. 11 “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west. They will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of heaven. They will sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 12 But those who think they belong to the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness. There they will sob and grind their teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the Roman commander, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour.
There are about 20 incidences of people receiving healing across the 4 Gospels, and it is likely that there were many other people who were healed by Jesus during his ministry that are not recorded in scripture.
There is something special and unique about this story of healing though. I find it an incredibly uplifting and inspiring passage, and one of the interesting things about it is that it makes the person who was supernaturally healed a very minor character – The main player in the story other than Jesus, is a very noble centurion – literally an officer in charge of 100 men.
There are so many reasons why it would be unusual for this Centurion to be seeking Christ – even in the story we can see that he commands significant power. Why is he coming to see Christ himself rather than sending one of his trusted men?
Also, his care for his servant seems to be incredible. Often we have seen Centurions and first century military personnel portrayed in literature to be harsh and uncaring, and this is a likely position for them to be in – the brutal realities that they would face in their lives would have been tough.
His faith though is what stands out to Jesus. The passage even says that Jesus is amazed by the man’s faith. He tells the Centurion “Because YOU have believed, it has happened.”
Lord, help me to have more faith, so that when I come to you on behalf of others, my own faith in your power and love will be enough to see miracles done in their lives!
Written by Ps. Justin Ware