by Rev Joel Yong
There a Roman army officer’s valuable slave was sick and near death. The officer had heard about Jesus and sent some Jewish leaders to him. They were to ask Jesus to come and save the servant’s life. They came to Jesus and begged, “He deserves your help. He loves our people and built our synagogue at his own expense.” Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the officer sent friends to tell Jesus, “Sir, don’t bother. I don’t deserve to have you come into my house. That’s why I didn’t come to you. But just give a command, and let my servant be cured. As you know, I’m in a chain of command and have soldiers at my command. I tell one of them, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and another, ‘Come!’ and he comes. I tell my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Jesus was amazed at the officer when he heard these words. He turned to the crowd following him and said, “I can guarantee that I haven’t found faith as great as this in Israel.” When the men who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant healthy again.
Did you notice?
The 2 never met.
The officer heard about what Jesus had done – but had not witnessed it.
The Jewish leaders went on the officer’s behalf, initially. I wonder if the officer did this, because he was high and mighty and did not think, he needed to go personally. Or…. he felt the Jewish plea would be more successful than a Gentile plea to Jesus.
I think it was the latter. The 2nd thing the officer did, is telling …
Upon hearing that Jesus was coming to his home personally, he sent friends to tell Jesus not to inconvenience himself and to just give a command and it would suffice.
The officer said in his message- “I don’t deserve to have you come to my house.
Now Israel was undergoing the Roman Occupation and the officer could have had every reason to treat Jews like his subordinates, to come and go at his command.
But he did not.
He had great reverence for God.
And he had great faith in the mighty power of God.
Fast forward to our present day- and we find ourselves in similar situations that require our responses.
Do we consider that –
- since we donated such an amount to the church- that God and the church are in our debt? Failing which, we withhold our tithe and offering from God and the church?
- since we hold certain status/positions and thus ought to receive certain privileges/priority treatment/service in church/and from God?
- when we are in trouble, God can only heal us/free us/help us if He responds in a certain limited way?
The Roman officer believed that he was due no privilege and sought Jesus with no presumptions except in the mighty power of His hand. He believed that all was possible with Jesus and Jesus did not even need to heal via the laying of hands!
Jesus praised this Gentile’s faith as so amazing that He had not see any like it amongst the Israelites!
What do you believe?