We’ve been listening to Luke’s presentation of Jesus’ Sermon On The Plain, a summary of Jesus’ demands for those who say they are following Him. In this sermon Jesus pronounced a strong condemnation against those who maintained wealth by rejecting God’s true prophets (Lk. 6:24-26) and He commanded us to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27). Do these commands mean that Jesus teaches that all wealth is evil and that police officers should resign and simply love on the criminals they are seeking to restrain?
Again I want to emphasize why we can’t take Jesus’ words out of context and we understand what the Gospel of Luke is actually teaching when we track his thought carefully from one section to the next.
Right after Luke presented Jesus’ sermon, he takes us back to Capernaum, Jesus’ adopted hometown, and recounts a healing episode that again powerfully reveals Jesus’ authority over sickness, suffering and death. Who plays the major good role besides Jesus in this miracle healing story? A wealthy centurion with a cherished servant at the point of death.
And to make sure that we don’t make the false assumption that all first century Jews rejected Jesus, Luke reminds us that the centurion in this story built a synagogue for his hometown Jews and major leaders from this synagogue come to implore Jesus to come and heal their Gentile friend’s servant.
“After all His words filled the ears of the people, He came to Capernaum. Now a certain slave of a centurion, who was dear to him, was sick, nearing death. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent Jewish elders to Him asking Him to come and heal his servant. When they arrived, they were earnestly urging Him, “He’s worthy for you to give this to him. He loves our people and has built a synagogue for us.”
And as Jesus was going along with them, when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Jesus, saying, ‘Lord, don’t trouble yourself for I’m not worthy for You to come under my roof. Neither do I consider myself worthy to come to you. But if you speak the word, my child will be healed. For I, too, am a man placed under authority having soldiers underneath my command. When I say this, ‘Go!’ he goes, and to another ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.
Now when Jesus heard these things He was amazed by him. He turned to the crowd that was following Him, ‘I say, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ And when those sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.” Luke 7:1-9
LORD, thanks that You generate faith in both Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor. Give me a humble faith in You today and an understanding of Your authority like this centurion who believed.
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