Word from Scotland: A crisis brings a strong man to Christ
We come to Mathew Chapter 8 and at verse 5. We know from Luke that following the miraculous healing of the leper, Jesus Christ went to prayer.
Jesus had been teaching and He had said everything He wanted to say on that occasion.
Jesus now enters Capernaum.
Much of the ministry of Jesus has been spontaneous, as those in need met Him, or came to Him, or He would be walking along the road.
Jesus was NOT limited to certain times and places and settings, but He was available all the time, when He was in public.
In Capernaum a Centurion’s servant is lying sick, and this servant is highly thought of by his master.
It was most unusual to care for, or be concerned about, a slave who was far below you.
The Roman Army Officer would be quite powerful, with position and influence and authority.
He would be a man of strong character – an R.S.M of a man – with leadership qualities, and reasonably wealthy.
He would be able to afford as many slaves and servants as he needed.
However, there was a crisis in his home.
This personal servant is about to die. He asks some elders of the Jews to go and find Jesus. He wants Jesus to come and heal his servant.
Consider what he is doing – a military man – with a sick servant – asking Jewish elders to go and get Jesus Christ.
When a crisis arises it is good to turn to Jesus.
They found Jesus and pleaded with him, to go to the house of a Gentile – to the home of an officer of the occupying army in their land.
Jesus did not refuse to hear them. He did not argue with them, or reason with them, or suggest that this man better mend his ways and sort out this and that.
The Roman Centurion had shown a love for Israel – he had built a synagogue – showing his love in a tangible way – he had been generous.
God always sees generosity and rewards it in some way.
He has a degree of faith in Jesus, and he does something about it.
His position in life did not prevent him from seeking Jesus publicly and openly.
There is quite a complexity of compassion in this passage.
There is an amazing respect for each other all-round.
It seems to be all sweet and light. Why is there so much grace in this passage? This follows teaching – and I had never seen that before.
He had only heard of Jesus. We never know what may happen ‘second hand’.
Do you think someone must have been praying for this man’s heart to be prised open?
I often wonder what people say about us, when they pass the place where we meet for praise and worship and prayer and Bible teaching? “There are people up these stairs and steps, praying.” Might some say that?
Jesus agrees to go. When Jesus is nearing the Centurion’s house, he sends friends to say to Jesus, “Don’t trouble yourself – don’t waste your time coming the whole way – you are a busy man and I don’t deserve you to come under my roof. I am not worthy. Just say a word and my servant will be healed.” This reveals amazing humility and understanding.
Some people do feel unworthy.
He was a man of authority and under authority. When I give an order it is to be obeyed immediately. He knew what it was to take commands as well as give commands.
He recognises Jesus Christ is man under authority and with authority.
Authority comes from participating in authority and submitting to authority.
He could see that Jesus was in perfect submission to the Father – and so had perfect authority. He could see that Jesus could say to this disease “Quick March”, and it would have to go – leave – move out – disappear.
He so believed in the power of the Word of God.
The miracle begins when he places himself under the authority of Jesus Christ – who had perfect love – perfect submission – perfect power – perfect authority.
Many today have very little sense of authority, and find it hard to recognise authority, and to submit to authority is even harder.
This man understood the nature of authority, and his heart was so open.
Jesus marvelled. He was surprised, and Jesus admired such faith. The only other place where it is recorded that Jesus was surprised was when He visited His home town of Nazareth and could do no powerful work there. He marvelled because of their unbelief.
This man called Jesus has a potential which I cannot explain, but I recognise it. He is different from every other man.
The servant is healed. The word ‘well’ means WHOLE.
What you do with your problem is far more important than what your problem does to you.