The Lordship of Jesus recognized through faith by a Centurion
Luke 7:1-10 (Matthew 8:5-13)
I personally think that this kind of passage makes someone like me feel inadequate to preach. Because when you examine yourself in the light of this Centurion whose faith amazes Jesus, I cannot help but feel absolutely inadequate.
Few Significant Points to Ponders:
1. A Centurion is a Roman Military Officer (of 100 soldiers).
2. The Centurion appears to have ONLY heard about Jesus.
3. Jesus was willing to go to the Centurion’s home/quarter to heal his sick servant. (Jews were not encouraged to enter the house of Gentiles).
Brief Background of Luke: As a Doctor, Luke has ‘carefully investigated’ to write an orderly account of Jesus to be presented to his most excellent Theophilus.
The Gospel is specifically directed to Theophilus (1:3), whose name means “one who loves God” and certainly refers to a particular person rather than to lovers of God in general. The use of “most excellent” with the name further indicates an individual, and supports the idea that he was a Roman official or at least of high position and wealth. He was possibly Luke's patron, responsible for seeing that the writings were copied and distributed. Such a dedication to the publisher was common at that time.
Theophilus, however, was more than a publisher. The message of this Gospel was intended for his own instruction (1:4) as well as the instruction of those among whom the book would be circulated. The fact that the Gospel was initially directed to Theophilus does not narrow or limit its purpose. It was written to strengthen the faith of all believers and to answer the attacks of unbelievers. It was presented to displace some disconnected and ill-founded reports about Jesus (see 1:1-4 and note). Luke wanted to show that the place of the Gentile Christian in God's kingdom is based on the teaching of Jesus. He wanted to commend the preaching of the gospel to the whole world.
In some sense it’s an apologetic message in nature.
As Luke is witnessing the Gospel to Theophilus, a Roman citizen, Luke is bringing in an incident involving a Roman citizen as well.
Theophilus was likely a person of social and government rank, and a Gentile with a background in Roman and Greek culture. The generous inclusion of Old Testament texts suggests that Theophilus would have also had a background with the Jewish culture. Theophilus had already received some instruction about Jesus, likely of an introductory nature, at some point. This shows that he had an interest in Christianity, but needed more teaching and factual verification.
Characteristic of a Christian Centurion:
1. The Centurion must have been a kind master.
- He highly valued his servant.
- In a Roman world, servants or slaves were treated without any regard for their
humanity. They were basically properties of their masters.
- Are we kind to others especially who are economically, intellectually, socially,
politically inferior than us?
- Sometimes we find unbelievers more kind and considerate than us Christians.
- Showing kindness and compassion to others, especially to other who cannot afford
to return the same favor is something God wants us to practice.
2. The Centurion must have been a humble man.
- The elders of the Jews said to Jesus that this Centurion deserves to have you do this (heal his servant) – verse 4
- Say the word – by the Word of God, all things in Heaven and Earth came to being.
- (Story of Muhammad Ali)
- Contradiction: The Centurion says, “I do not deserve” - verse 6.
3. The Centurion must have been a man of ‘great faith’.
- Jesus was amazed (marvel in ESV and others)
- Jesus said, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.
- The only other place where Jesus was amazed is found in Mark 6:6, where he
was amazed by their(his own people – the Jews) lack of faith.
- As I read, study and meditate on this passage, I can’t help but feel small
because I can see that my faith is not a great as this Centurion’s faith.
- Jesus made a rare comparison. He says........not even in Israel.
- Comparison is not always a wise thing to do. In fact, it is one of the strongest
method to kill your joy, your peace etc etc....
- But Jesus made a comparison here because he wanted his people to
introspect where they are.
- Comparison for self-examination.
Personal Observation: A Centurion is a Roman officer. So he is a Gentile in the eyes of the Jews.
Not much information on how he believe in Jesus. Perhaps he heard about Jesus. Another Centurion witnesses something extraordinary about Jesus was the one at the cross. That Centurion says, ‘Surely he was the Son of God’. (Matthew 27:54)
The Centurion says, ‘Say the word’ and my servant will be healed.
He knows the power of God’s Word.
Remember, God created all the things in Heaven and on Earth through SPEAKING(utterance of words). He spoke and the mighty sun came to being. He spoke and the mountains came, and all the things we see and cannot see.
This miraculous healing is also unique because, here you find that there is no touching of the sick servant. No putting of mud or any other things Jesus did to heal others.
Praying and having faith for others is also exemplified here. (the men who brought a sick man and they lay him down through a roof)
Here as well, the Centurion’s faith heal the servant.
Your prayers and your faith can do wonders for others too.
How are we doing this afternoon? How is our faith? How is our relationship with God?
We profess ourselves to the world that we are followers of Christ but deep down are we truly living out the life that he wants us to live.
I admit I fail too often. I am unworthy to preach from this passage, especially. I stand here today solely by the grace of God. Only by His mercy.
May we pray, sincerely asking God to search our hearts, our ways, and if we have gone astray, if we have fail to live our lives faithfully, may we ask the Holy Spirit to bring us back to God. Only He can help us and enable us to live our lives worthy of His saving grace, and worthy of His precious calls to be His sons and daughters.
The centurion valued his servant so much. The biblical worldview is the only worldview that teaches us to value everyone, because of the fact that all human beings are created in the image of God.
A person can be poor, illiterate yet he/she bears the image of God.
Even in our individual lives, how we are doing. No one knows about us, better than God and ourselves.
Are we down and discouraged because in the eyes of the world, we are a failure. Our bank account is barely touching the minimum balance required.
Unemployment is making us look like we are insignificant.
Even employed people feel intimidated by their boos or colleagues in the office.
No matter what we are going through. Let us remember the truth.
The truth is that we are created in the image of God.
In the birth certificates of God, the seal of Trinity is stamped to say that Noah, Doupu, Collin and every one of us are created in the very image of God.
We are highly valued in the eyes of God.
Jesus told His disciples, I no longer called you servants but friends.
(Yes let us continue to have that servant attitude in serving the Lord, but remember we are no longer slaves or servants, but a child of God).
As an earthly father I love my daughter like crazy. I love her so much. Even a sinful father like me can have so much love for my daughter, how much love that a holy Heavenly Father can have for each one of us.
Christ bought us with His precious blood.
Even while we were in sin, God sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross, to pay for the penalty of our sins. Because He values us.
There are times when we do not value ourselves. Forget about others. We don’t even valued
or love ourselves sometimes. We compare ourselves with others and then look at ourselves and feel like we are such a loser, such a failure.
But hey, let us once again remember that God created us in His very image, sent His only Son to save us. He loves us so much, even when we are unemployed, even when our bank account is dry, even when our society says we are nothing but a failure. We are loved, we are highly valued by the creator of Heaven and Earth.
May this truth stir up our faith, our weak and feeble faith to rise up once again. May our faith increase knowing the fact that we are a highly valued people.
One of the main points from this passage is also to show that Jesus is Lord over all the earth. Jesus said all authority under heaven is given to me. The centurion recognized it. He relates with authority very well. How about you today? Do we recognize the authority of Jesus over us. Over our lives, over our family, over our work, over our relationships, over everything about us.
Luke is writing this Gospel, the Gospel of Luke to Theophilus, who was said to be a leader among the Roman ranks.
So perhaps Luke is trying to convey a very important message to Theophilus that Jesus was and is Lord over even the Gentiles like himself (Theophilus himself).