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The Centurion

Roman Soldier
Tomas Arana as the conflicted Roman leader Quintus in the movie Gladiator

Here’s what I love about the centurion – he’s a man of honor, faith, and respect.  He is well-trained, and ready to implement his training.  When he comes into a conflict, he is ready for battle and chooses the proper weapon for the fight.  Never identified in the Bible by more than his rank, this soldier comes to Jesus with a God-sized problem – one of his servants is paralyzed and in great pain.  (In today’s society, the servant would be an excellent candidate for euthanasia, particularly in the Netherlands.)   He doesn’t seek a doctor, because a doctor can’t heal paralysis.  God can, so the centurion goes to Jesus.

The centurion is a man of honor because he cares for the people who serve with him.  He is a man of faith because he believes Jesus can heal his servant if He wants to.  He is a man of respect, because he recognizes that he isn’t worthy of Jesus – apart from His grace no one can be.  Yet the centurion feels compelled to ask Jesus to act in power.

Not only does Jesus agree to heal the servant, He’s prepared to do so in person while in Capernaum.  In humility, and with a soldier’s understanding of authority, the centurion knows he can take God at His word.  So Jesus heals the servant without ever going to him, and teaches those following Him that His Kingdom is based upon faith in Him: “I have not found anyone in all of Israel with such great faith…”

  • Do I recognize my God-sized problems?  (And if I do, who do I bring them to?)
  • Do I ask God to act in power?  Or have I forgotten the weapon of prayer?
  • Do I come to Jesus with great faith?