The Miracles of Jesus
February 26, 2021
Jesus heals a Centurion’s servant
Forty years ago, I was a grocery manager for Alberton’s supermarkets. Albertson’s management philosophy was aggressive. The style came out of WWII. You gave orders, and you expected to be followed to the letter. In a few short years, this style of management was embedded in my values. If I said, “Jump,” all I wanted to hear as a reply was, “How high?”
It’s sad because I utilized that management style at home with my family. It took me several years after I left Albertson’s to realize something. I was not loving and caring for my family; instead, I was managing them.
Early on, I found out that this working style with people didn’t work at all in the church. As a church worker, you cannot boss around and tell volunteers what to do as if they were soldiers. Church ministry takes teamwork, love, and empathy between staff and congregation.
In Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, we find the story of Jesus’ healing of the Centurions servant.
“When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people, he returned to Capernaum. At that time, the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. So, they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. “If anyone deserves your help, he does,” they said, “for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.”
So, Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.”
The Centurion was a captain in the Roman army. As his title depicts, he was in charge of 100 soldiers. This story is indeed about remote healing by Jesus, but it is even more important as a story of faith.
Not unlike my experience as a manager at Albertson’s supermarkets, the Centurion tells people what to do. “I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
The passage above tells us that the Centurion understood that Jesus was a man of authority. He had either heard about Christ’s healing powers or had seen them himself.
The Centurion felt that he, as a gentile was unworthy of having Jesus step into his home. Yet, he had faith that Jesus could heal his servant even from afar. So first, the Centurion sent Jewish leaders who respected him to ask Jesus to heal his servant. Later, he sent friends to avoid the embarrassment of Jesus coming into his home, as well as any for Jesus, by entering a gentile’s home.
Jesus felt the Centurions faith was stronger than any He had ever seen before. So, He healed his servant as asked.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For, everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7:8.
The Centurion asked, which Jesus tells us to do. Through the church elders, he sought after Jesus, and he knocked by sending his friends to Jesus.
Think about what happened for a moment. Jesus was not in the presence of the servant when He healed him. Why? Because of his master’s (the Centurions) faith.
We do the same thing every time we pray. Yes, Jesus is with us always, but He does not have a physical presence with us like He did when so many of His healings were accomplished. We are asking Jesus to heal, bless and provide for us from afar.
We do so. We believe that Jesus can heal, provide for us, and bless us because we have faith in Him. Why else pray? We pray because we have faith like the Centurion did.