WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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FAITH OF THE ROMAN OFFICER
(Great faith is trusting in what JESUS can do)
(Luke 7:1-10 & Matthew 8:5-13)
In Luke 7:1-10, and Matthew 8:5-13, two authors of GOD’s Good News, Luke and the Apostle Matthew, give their respective accounts of the story of the Roman officer, a centurion (a ruler over 100 men), who sought help from JESUS for his valuable ailing servant. Matthew was an eyewitness to this event, while Luke compiled his account through very careful investigative work collected from verified eyewitnesses who were there that day.
Through man’s faith in CHRIST, he can bring about healing to himself, and, to others whom he cares about. He must rely on GOD with an inward certainty that will manifest itself through his behavior. After JESUS had finished preaching HIS, now famous, “Sermon on the Mount”, HE and HIS disciples went back to Capernaum, the place that eventually became HIS ministry headquarters, after HE was rejected by the people in HIS hometown of Nazareth. There JESUS is met, either by the Roman centurion (Matthew 8:5), or, by friends of the Roman centurion who were respected Jewish leaders in Capernaum (Luke 7:3). However, either way the officer was calling on the help of JESUS, WHOM he had heard so much about, to cure his beloved servant from his illness.
This centurion was one of unusual character for a man of his position. First of all his treatment of his servants with love and respect was very rare. Most Romans looked at their servants as being only “living tools” that they would do away with once they were no longer fit to be used. Apparently this centurion held, at least this particular servant, to be a very valuable asset that he desired very much to, retain, not for usage, but because he loved him as a friend.
Secondly, he was a Gentile that even the Jewish hierarchy held dear and respected. In fact he loved and respected the Jews also, even to the degree that he actually built them a synagogue in which they could worship the GOD of Heaven, WHOM he himself, also apparently worshiped. He even respected their Jewish laws and customs, including the one that forbids Jews from entering into the home of a Gentile. HE also esteemed JESUS for WHO HE was, as the SON of the living GOD, and he had absolute faith in JESUS’ ability to heal.
Notice what he told JESUS in verse 6, “LORD, don’t trouble YOURSELF by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor, I am not even worthy to come and meet YOU. Just say the word from where YOU are, and my servant will be healed.
This centurion understood clearly that JESUS had spiritual authority over demons and over sickness and death (v.8), and when JESUS heard his proclamation, he marveled and was truly amazed by this Gentile who had shown more faith than all of the Jews whom HE had met in the land of Israel.
Because the Roman centurion had exhibited such unusual faith, JESUS did indeed heal his servant from where HE was. He had come to JESUS with a perfect confidence that seemed to say, “LORD JESUS, I know YOU can do this”, and his faith in CHRIST JESUS, and his belief in JESUS’ authority over all things on earth, brought healing and new life to his beloved servant.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander