August 13 I Saturday
“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralysed, suffering terribly.’” —Matthew 8:5-6
There are some people that we would never associate ourselves with. During the New Testament times, for the Jewish people that was the Romans. The Romans were the ones oppressing the Jews; they were the enemy. Yet, a Roman centurion was bold enough to approach Jesus with a request: “Lord, my servant lies at home paralysed, suffering terribly.” We could imagine the people watching think in their mind, “Don’t do it, Jesus. Don’t engage with that man!” But Jesus responds, “Shall I come and heal him?” (Matthew 8:7). To enter the home of a Gentile was a big no-no in Jesus’s day—let alone a Roman centurion; this was something strictly forbidden by the teachings and traditions of the rabbis.
Thus, according to the societal norms of the day, the Roman centurion knows that it would be a great dishonour for Jesus to enter the home of a Gentile. He displays remarkable faith and understanding about the power and authority of Jesus because he responds, “Lord, I do not deserve to have You come under my roof. But just 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” (Matthew 8:8-9). The Roman centurion believes and knows that Jesus’s power and authority has no limit.
As we reflect on this, do we actually believe that Jesus has authority and cares about the intricate details of our life or do we operate like He does not? Do we worry about every detail in life, the thousands of things that distract us from the One who actually has authority? Or because we are privileged in positions of power or resources, do we think we have all the answers and can coast through life thinking that we are okay?
Matthew tells us Jesus’s reaction to the Roman centurion’s statement: “When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those following Him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matthew 8:10). It is noteworthy from Jesus’s response that we can have a remarkable faith that even the Son of God finds amazing!
Beneath the surface, Jesus was doing something subtle. He affirms the Roman centurion’s faith and demonstrates His authority, while at the same time, He redefines and reframes Jewish teachings, traditions and understandings. Jesus used His power and authority to welcome the foreigner, to disrupt societal order.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You that Your power and authority have no limits. Like the Roman centurion, deepen my faith in You. In Jesus’s name, amen.