Some time after giving the sermon, Jesus returns to Capernaum. When word gets around that He is back, He is approached by some Jewish elders with a request for healing. What’s unusual is that the request isn’t for themselves or for someone they are close to, but for a Roman centurion’s slave. Even more unusual is that the request comes from the centurion himself, and he also has a good enough relationship with these community leaders to have them ask Jesus for help on his behalf. To put this in perspective, imagine a British Empire army captain asking for an Indian guru to help his butler.
Jesus agrees to go with them, but on the way, some more of the centurion’s friends stop Him, saying that the man’s house is not worthy to have Jesus under its roof. But the centurion also sent word that he knew if Jesus just said so, his slave would be healed, because he understands how authority and the chain of command work. His faith in Jesus is so great that he knows Jesus can heal from a distance, because Jesus has authority over the disease. Jesus is amazed at the centurion’s faith, and says it is greater than any He has seen in Israel. He goes on His way and the slave is healed.
We don’t know how or why this centurion came to have such great faith, but his example is certainly one we should strive to emulate. Notice also how humble he was: he didn’t order Jesus to see him, even though he probably had the civil authority to do so. He didn’t ask Jesus to come into his house because that would have made Him ritually unclean (though maybe that’s a Pharisaical tradition).
Give us great faith and humility, for we love You with our whole lives.