Luke 7:1-10 (NIV) 1 When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them. 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. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 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.” 9 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.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
On verses 1-10: I find interesting the words of the elders who spoke on the Roman centurion’s behalf. They said to Jesus, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” (v4-5) It raises the question: can we be so good and do so much good that we actually deserve for God to do something for us? The answer is no. We don’t deserve anything from God. Every good thing God does is a gift of His grace that we didn’t deserve.
In contrast to the elders coming to Jesus with a sense of entitlement, listen to the centurion’s own words to Jesus: “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.” (v6-7) Despite any good he had done or what others had said about him, this centurion didn’t consider himself deserving or worthy of Jesus’ presence or help. Thus he approached Jesus with great humility, unlike the entitled elders.
Where did such faith and humility come from? The centurion’s great respect for Jesus was born out of his respect for authority. He says, “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.” (v8) Jesus in turn praises this centurion’s faith (v9) and speaks the word to heal the centurion’s servant (v10).
What can we learn from this?
1. Though God’s love is unconditional and for everyone, heaven opens for those who have a humble heart toward Jesus, who respect his authority.
2. A huge part of experiencing God-given blessings is respecting God-given authority. This is what I find: those who have no respect for their God-given leaders, who have no concept of what it means to love, honour, or submit to them, usually don’t go very far with God. They remain bottom-feeders in the kingdom of God. In contrast, those who respect their God-given leaders, who have a “serve first, receive later” attitude, who are sensitive to, humble toward, and honouring of their leaders, tend to receive great blessing and promotion in God’s kingdom.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would be respectful of Your Son’s authority and the authority of those You place over me in leadership. May I honour the leaders You place over me, for there is great blessing in that. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!