After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them.
When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
Sometimes religious people of a certain sect can see faith as something belonging to them alone. These often feel that faith is all about following the rules and embracing a specific theology. Then a centurion comes along and helps us to see that faith is really not about rules or theology at all. In this story Jesus marvels at the faith of a humble man that neither followed Jewish law or traditions. The centurions speaks to us of what real faith is.
In the centurion we see a blend of genuine faith and humility. The man could have come to Jesus himself but sent others who he deemed to be more worthy. When he heard that Jesus was coming to his place he felt unworthy of a visit by God incarnate. And in Christ he saw one who had authority over life and death - sickness and health. And the Lord responded to his prayer by healing his servant. We can learn much from the faith of the centurion.
Lord, I so often need to see to believe. Help me to believe before I see.