When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant] ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. -Matthew 8:5-13
The Roman Centurion was an imposing figure. He was in charge of 100 soldiers. He worked his way up through the ranks, recognized for size, strength, expertise with weapons, courage in battle, and the ability to motivate men. Yet the centurion Jesus met in Capernaum was humble, gracious, and caring. He appealed to Jesus on behalf of a favorite servant who was lying paralyzed at home.
Jesus agreed that he would come and heal the man. But the humble centurion knew that Jesus, according to Jewish ceremonial law, would defile himself by stepping into a Gentile home. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.”
But this centurion had an unexpected, astounding faith in Jesus. “But only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” He knew, and he trusted, that Jesus’ power was in His Word. Jesus did not have to come near the servant or touch him to heal him. All he had to do was give the command, and the servant would be healed?
Where did that Centurion get such faith? No doubt he had heard about Jesus, his teachings, and his miracles. Perhaps he had even been in the crowd and heard Jesus teaching the Gospel. The Holy Spirit ignited faith in him through the powerful Gospel of Jesus. And by that same mighty power coming from Jesus’ lips, the paralyzed servant would be healed. That truth has not changed. Even today, all Jesus has to do is speak the command, and it is done. Do you have faith in Jesus’ words?
“Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” God is not a racist. Even the Roman centurion received faith and healing from Jesus.
Faith in Jesus is faith in his Word. The centurion had to trust in the words from Jesus’ mouth; we must trust the words from Jesus’ book- the Bible. If you want to know what Jesus thinks, study his Word. If you want to know what Jesus would do, see what he did in the Bible. You can’t trust in anyone or anything that you don’t know very well. Learn to know Jesus intimately from his Word. You will grow in trust in him. You will have remarkable faith like that centurion.
Lord God, give me faith like that of the centurion, humble, sincere, firm, and grounded in the words of Jesus. Help me grow in knowledge of the Lord through the Bible, that faith may grow and mature into an unshakable confidence in all that Jesus has said and promised. Amen.