September 27 - Luke 7:1-10

Friday, September 27, 2013

Luke 7:1-10 – The Centurion’s Faith

Luke tells stories differently, but sometimes we miss what he says and does because we are so familiar with the entirety of the story. When the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) tell a story, each author presents sometimes presents different perspectives. As readers of the whole Bible, we tend to blend their presentations into one story and sometimes miss what the individual gospel writer is pointing out to us.

In this case, the actual healing of the servant is almost an aside. There is so much more happening in this story.

When the centurion’s friends approached Jesus, Luke shows us that they did something a bit unexpected. Rather than urging him to come to the rescue of a very sick man, instead they point out to him what a good man the centurion is. Now, this is a man who is a Roman, not a Jew. Notice that the friends tell Jesus the centurion loves ‘our’ people.  He is probably a Jew in everything but actuality, not having taken the final step – that of circumcision.  Now, as much as he is a friend to the Jews, his refusal to come to Jesus himself is not about Jesus Christ, but shows that this man respects the Jew’s need for separation from outsiders. Since Jesus was a man of God, he wouldn’t be expected to associate with outsiders. Maybe the centurion doesn’t know that Jesus would make that choice in a heartbeat.

The centurion, upon hearing that Jesus was coming near, next sent close friends to tell the Lord that he need not come any closer. He had faith the Jesus could heal the man from afar. That there were friends of the centurion’s in the home helping him care for this servant means that the dying man was more than just a slave. He was also a friend and well-loved by the centurion. Jesus could not help but be moved by the man’s love for the country in which he lives, but for those around him.

His faith and love combined to show that God was already at work in his heart.

And Jesus responds in love and compassion toward the servant and then speaks to those who are following him. They have followed him, listened to him and have seen him perform glorious miracles, yet the one man who has not been part of any of that has more faith since he will trust in the Lord, not having seen a single miracle performed.

Faith is the centerpiece of this story and because of faith, miracles happen.