Luke 7:6-10 (NIV) 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. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 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.”
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.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
The centurion was definitely a man of profound faith. He had faith in God and worshipped Him as a God-fearer, which moved him to connect to the Jewish community, even to the point of building a synagogue in his town.
He had faith that Jesus would be able to heal his deathly-ill servant, prompting him to send the Jewish elders to Him to ask for His help. But now that he got the word that Jesus was on His way to the house, the true depth of his faith was revealed.
The centurion knew that it was against custom for Jewish people to enter the home of a gentile; that such an act would make them ceremonially unclean. So he sent some friends to Jesus letting Him know that, in the centurion’s opinion, He didn’t have to break this tradition. The centurion believed that all of the forces of nature were available to Jesus, and that all He had to do was to speak the appropriate word, and his servant would be healed. His model was his own authority over soldiers, who jumped at his every command. He believed that Jesus had a similar authority over whatever sickness had control over his servant. So, rather than have Jesus come all the way to the house, the centurion respectfully requested that Jesus simply speak that appropriate word.
Jesus’ stunned reaction was caused by the fact that this man, a gentile, actually got it! This man understood who Jesus was and what He was capable of accomplishing better than any of the Jewish people He had met, including His own disciples!
Of course, the faith of the centurion was immediately rewarded. The friends were sent back to the centurion’s house, and found the servant completely well, and the centurion joyful.
Father, sometimes we make things far more difficult than they need to be. The centurion believed Jesus could do a miracle, he asked for the miracle, and the miracle happened. It brings to mind Mark 11:24 (NIV): “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” There are some conditions in the context, but this is the exact kind of faith expressed by the centurion. Help me to exercise that same faith in You at all times. Amen.