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When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”
Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go.’ And he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It would be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour. –Matthew 8:5-10, 13
A Faith to Get Jesus Astonished
Jesus is in Capernaum and a high-ranking military man approaches him with a plea for his paralyzed and suffering servant, who is lying back at home. In many societies around the world, men of the armed forces command a lot of respect and admiration, not least for the sacrifices they make to keep everyone safe. Secondly, it is not every day that you find any military man, not to talk of a commander, begging a civilian for favours. But that is exactly what this centurion did. So, perhaps out of respect for the officer’s standing in the military and in society, and his humility and faith, Jesus offers to “go and heal him.”
The centurion’s response would have the Lord taken aback, and that is quite something. He says how unworthy he is to have Jesus come under his roof and how his life’s vocation as a commanding officer in the military had taught him that a strong man’s words convey his authority: “I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go.’ And he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished.” And I imagine that he was pleased as well for, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). This guy got Jesus amazed and had set himself up for a divine reward.
Your Word Is Enough for Me
Whereas someone like Peter was happy to have the Lord come in and physically touch and heal a loved one (Matthew 8:14-15), this centurion felt that wasn’t necessary. When Jesus offered to physically visit his home to heal his servant, he declined the offer: “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” Whereas others would see Jesus’ physical touch as a prerequisite for healing, this man didn’t. He said in essence, “Lord, I’d like you to come heal my servant, but I don’t need you to trouble yourself by coming to me physically. Your word is enough for me. Just say it.” The woman with the issue of blood believed a touch of the Lord’s garment was necessary for her, and that is commendable, but it didn’t amaze the Lord. Receiving healing via a physical touch and transfer of power wasn’t novel, Jesus had seen that before. Yes, the centurion wanted Jesus to come and heal his servant, but not physically. He wanted the Lord to come to him through his word. A word from the Lord was enough for this man. Hear him: “But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
We must not miss the lesson here. Many times people think that if Jesus would appear to them physically, then he would somehow be able to deal with their problems. Here was a man with that privilege but he in faith turned it down. This centurion knew differently and we must learn it too: whatever Jesus is able to do in person, his word can do it even when he isn’t physically present. That kind of faith, Jesus hadn’t seen before, not even in Israel.
Why mention Israel in this drama? Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message reads: ‘Taken aback, Jesus said, “I’ve not yet come across this kind of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works.” How stinging! An outsider with more faith in the word than the custodians of the word and all the miracles in their history. But before we dwell too much on Israel, we might need to look at ourselves. How long have you been a Christian, the present custodian of the word? Is the word of God sufficient for you? For daily life and in your hour of need, has the word been enough for you? It is biblical for hands to be laid on the sick and prayer made for them, but has that become an obstacle to you believing in the word? It is this lack of faith in the word, this not being satisfied with the word that pushes people to look for all kinds of alternatives, which are really not alternatives. People travel long distances to buy, or order expensive stuff like ‘anointing oil’, ‘anointed water’, ‘anointed handkerchiefs’ and the like in order to receive all kinds of divine interventions. For the centurion, even Christ’s offer to come to his home was not necessary, “just say the word” was his response. Is the word sufficient for you?
The Word Is Enough
The centurion’s faith in the word was rewarded. Jesus said to him, “Go! It would be done just as you believed it would.” The word didn’t fail, it proved potent just as his faith had hoped: “And his servant was healed at that very hour.” That was not the first time the word would heal anyone. Back in the old testament, the Psalmist sang of the healing power of the word that Israel had experienced in its history. When they got into trouble and cried to the Lord, he saved them from their distress. “He sent forth his word and healed them,” David said in Psalm 107:20. Those kinds of testimonies were written so that when you and I are distressed, we would know what to expect, we would know what to hold on to – the word.
Dear Christian, the word is enough for you too. It was then, it is now, and will always be. All you need to do is believe it. “All scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) so you can rest your faith on every promise that it has for you. Jesus himself guarantees that his word will remain and will be accomplished to the smallest letter or stroke of a pen (Matthew 5:18; 24:35).
God Himself Trusts His Word
At creation, when God was confronted with darkness, bottomless emptiness and an inky blackness, the tool he chose to bring light and order to that chaos was his word. The Bible says, “And God said”, “And there was.” He had absolute faith in his word to do the job. John, speaking of the Word confirms that, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). It is you and I that need to run around, explore and carry out research to get simple things done. God doesn’t do that; his word is enough for him to do whatever he wants to get done. The present heavens, and the earth that you see, the Bible says are reserved for fire by the word (2 Peter 3: 7). In fact, God holds everything together, sustains and upholds all things in the universe by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). That should crush all your doubts to smithereens and blow them away with the wind. If the entire universe, of which the whole earth is just but a small fraction, is sustained by God’s word, what is your problem that the word of God cannot handle? If God trusts his word that much, why won’t you?
Like the centurion, all you need is for him to “just say the word”, and say the word he has. Read your Bible and see what glorious promises he has made to you. Pray them to him. Jesus is ready to come to you through his word, to rescue you, to heal you, to meet you at the point of your need. All you need to experience freedom is to know the truth (John 8:32). And his word is truth. Receive the word by faith and rest on it and come away with a testimony just like the centurion did for his servant.
Very Refreshing. God bless Sir
Very inspiring and refreshing. Thanks
I have been blessed greatly ♥️
Thank you sir 🙏🏿
Great article, sir. Thank you. I was blessed.
More grace, sir.
Great article , am blessed and thanks for sharing
This has greatly refreshed my faith!
Thanks for sharing
Greatly blessed by this article!
More grace sir🙏