1 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
What an incredible account of recognition of the authority of Jesus, of friends who stood in the gap and of faith in action.
The centurion was a person who recognised authority when he saw it. We don’t know if he had seen Jesus doing miracles or not, but he nevertheless recognised Jesus’ authority over sickness.
The Bible tells us Jesus has “all authority in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18) and has been exalted to the highest place by God. Everyone will ultimately bow before him (Philippians 2:10). God the Father has given Jesus his authority and put everything under his power ( John 13:3). Jesus has all authority – that means his powerful name can accomplish much more than we can ever contemplate. His authority brings hope (just like it did for the centurion) knowing that he has defeated Satan. Ultimately, we know Jesus’ authority is not something he claims for himself but comes from God.
I hope that one day the centurion got to know the full extent of Jesus’ authority.
I also noticed the wonderful friends who stood in the gap for the centurion who knew that a Gentile could not have direct contact with a Jewish Rabbi. They took the message to Jesus which demonstrated the man’s amazing faith – even amazing Jesus! Their action is challenges me.
Lastly there is the impact Jesus’ authority has on my faith. The centurion had to exercise his faith in Jesus by putting it into action. He had to act on what he knew Jesus could do. He had to break through cultural barriers to access Jesus, and he had to ask for help. He acted in faith out of desperation. How am I acting in faith? Is it only when I’m desperate? Faith “muscles” need to be flexed to develop, to be ready to hold us when things are tough. Knowing Jesus has all authority builds my faith – I know he is in control, his power is unshakeable, his name moves mountains. Like the centurion, I need to call on him today, every day.
Written by Claire Moore