WHAT GOD CAN DO
Read: Luke 7:1-10
7 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. (NIV Luke 7:1-10)
Study: A “centurion” commanded 100 soldiers, part of the Roman force occupying Palestine. Some were brutal, but this centurion was decent and wise. He had been generous with the people of Capernaum, who told Jesus he “deserved” help. The centurion, though, said “I don’t deserve” (verse 6), and put his trust in Jesus’ power. His faith impressed Jesus even more than his “deserving” actions. We tend to relate to Jesus first in terms of what we know best. How did the Roman centurion draw on his military experience to express his trust in Jesus’ power? How did Jesus’ response to that foreign military officer point ahead to a church that welcomed Gentiles and Jews as equals before God (Galatians 3:28)? Which of your life experiences help you better recognize and trust God’s power?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, there were many reasons for your family and your disciples—and you—to fear and snub Roman soldiers. Yet you treated them like—well, like people. Help me to grow a heart more like yours, open and generous. Amen.