Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
What do we know about this centurion in Capernaum? We know that he is a good master of his own household. Centurions commanded 100 Roman soldiers and were wealthy men among the common tiers. This man had many servants, yet he cared for them. The Bible says that this one who was sick was dear to him and was ready to die. We also know that he was a man of faith. “When he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.”.
This was a good man, not your typical hostile, Roman centurion. He was sympathetic to Jews and even built a synagogue for the Jewish people.
Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
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. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
Interestingly we see that the two miracles of Jesus surrounding this one, (the healing of the multitudes and the raising of the widow of Nain’s son), were performed by a touch of Jesus and by His presence. This miracle of healing was not caused by Jesus presence, for the centurion felt unworthy to have the Son of God enter his house. This miracle was performed through faith in the word of Jesus.
This centurion caused the Son of God to marvel. Think about that. It says that Jesus marveled at him having not found faith like that in all of Israel. And here we see great faith in a gentile, in a Roman centurion who has authority over many men.
When this centurion said to Jesus through his servants, “For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.”, he was comparing himself to Christ. He recognized that Jesus was under authority from God the Father, that He had power to say to the sickness “flee”, and it would flee. This man believed that Christ could heal his servant with a word. He didn’t need a magical touch, just a single word from the one who spoke the earth into existence. Jesus is the Word, and the faith of this centurion healed his servant.
I love that the parable of the wise and foolish men occurs exactly one verse before this story. It’s almost as if Jesus is showing us an example of what He just said. This man has built a house on faith, on a solid rock. He is respected amongst the Jews and Romans, he is kind to his servants and generous with his wealth. He is a good man with a solid foundation for his house and his family. Because he has set his foundation upon the rock, when storms come, he has faith that a word from the Master can calm them every time.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist