AUTHORITY AND POWER
Luke 7:1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
Susie: Luke is a great journalist. He consistently gives us the setting for each episode of his account of the life of Jesus. In this case, the timing of this incident is right after the sermon Jesus preached on the plateau; and the place is Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee which Jesus used as a home base for much of His ministry.
Luke 7:2 And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
Susie: Luke withholds the name of the centurion. Perhaps it is just not necessary in order to keep the focus on the miracle, or the gospel writers are protecting this Roman soldier from repercussions because of his friendship with the Jews and his belief that Jesus can perform miraculous healings.
Susan: This commander of a hundred men, dearly loved his servant. The servant was precious to him, like a member of the family. The Centurion’s servant was a death’s door.
Luke 7:3 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.
Susan: Since Jesus was Jewish, the centurion sent leaders of the local synagogue, people Jesus would respect, to ask Jesus to heal his servant.
Luke 7:4-5 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.
Susan: The Jewish leaders eagerly entreated Jesus to heal the centurion’s servant, saying that he was definitely worthy of Jesus’s ministry to his dying servant.
Susie: They reported that this particular centurion loved the nation of Israel and had even built the local synagogue. The scripture does not tell us if he was a “God-fearer,” someone who believed in the God of the Jews, or if he had actually converted to Judaism. But they recognized him as a good man who had been generous to them.
Luke 7:6-7 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.
Susan: The Roman centurion humbly sent word to Jesus that He need not come to his house because he was not deserving to have Jesus under his roof. This is why he sent others to Him in the first place because he did not feel worthy to even be in the presence of Jesus. He said that Jesus only needed to command the illness to leave his servant’s body, and his servant would be restored to health.
Luke 7:8 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.
Susie: Since he was a commander of men, this officer knew the concept of those under him being compelled to obey. Therefore, on some level, he knew from Christ’s reputation that illnesses had to obey His command. He had faith that this could even be accomplished from a distance.
Luke 7:9 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.
Susan: Jesus commended the faith of the centurion to His disciples and all those who were within His hearing. He declared that He had not encountered as great a faith in all of Israel as that demonstrated by this Gentile soldier. Jesus was surprised by the genuine faith of the Roman centurion.
Luke 7:10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
Susie: When the centurion’s messengers returned to his house, they found the servant completely well even though moments before he had been near death. You may want to read about this incident in Matthew chapter 8. Neither account reports whether this particular centurion then trusted in Jesus. In a similar situation, in John 4, after Jesus healed the son of a nobleman, they entire family believed and trusted in Jesus.
Ponder this and Apply it: Do you ever think, “If only Jesus were here. . .?” Mary and Martha had that thought when their brother Lazarus died. However, this Roman officer knew the Jesus did not even have to be present to heal his servant. He probably may not have expressed it this way, but Jesus is the omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere at once), omnipotent (all-powerful) God who created everything! He IS present with us. In fact, if you have trusted Him for salvation, His Holy Spirit is WITHIN you! We need to pray knowing that our God is able to answer as long as what we ask is in accordance with His will. Meditate on this idea. Perhaps you may want to listen to the song “Same Power” by Jeremy Camp: