Sunday, January 22, 2017


Jesus & the Centurion

Having finished his sermon, Jesus continued with his traveling ministry. He went back into Capernaum. You might remember that he has been there before and he attended Sabbath services in the town’s synagogue. There he cast a demon out of a man. After the services, he went to Simon’s house and healed his mother-in-law. These events are recorded in Luke 4. You can imagine, then, that Jesus and his power over demons and illness were already well known in Capernaum. That sets the stage for the first event Luke recorded in chapter 7.

There was a Roman centurion living in Capernaum. (2) A centurion was an army officer who had charge of 100 soldiers. There must have been a Roman garrison in or close to Capernaum and this man was in charge of it.

Several centurions are mentioned in the gospels. They are always portrayed as good men. This one is no exception. He is well thought of by the Jews, as evidence by the fact that the elders approached Jesus on his behalf. (3) The elders called him “worthy” of Jesus’ attention, because he loved the nation of Israel and even built the synagogue in Capernaum. (4-5)

The centurion wanted Jesus to heal his servant or slave. (3) Luke said the servant was highly valued by the centurion, so he likely had took care of many of the centurion’s affairs and was trusted by him. When the servant fell ill and appeared to be on his deathbed, he wanted to help him and turned to Jesus for healing.

There are two interesting facets to this event. First, the centurion exhibited great faith in Jesus’ ability to heal and respect for Jesus’ authority. That is shown by the fact that he sent some friends to Jesus saying you do not need to come all the way to my house. You can heal him from where you are.

The centurion also demonstrated humility also when added that he did not feel worthy for Jesus to come to his house. (6) That is amazing since he was an important and powerful figure in the area. It also shows how great his respect was for Jesus.

Jesus praised the man’s faith, saying the faith of this gentile was greater than any he had found among the Jews. (9) And he healed the servant.

This event shows us again that Jesus had authority over human illness. He did not have to touch someone to make it happen. Evidently, he just commanded it silently to himself and it happened. His authority over illness showed his deity.

This event also shows us that Jesus responded to the faith of Gentiles as well as Jews. Isaiah had prophesied this centuries before, although many Jews had forgotten it and resented it. It was a sign that he was indeed the Messiah or anointed one.

Jesus Raises A Dead Son

Jesus traveled from Capernaum to Nain, a small town about 9 miles south of Nazareth. As he approached the town, he saw a funeral procession coming out of the town. The dead man was the only son of a widow. (13) His death would both leave the widow without family and also likely without financial support.

Jesus, as God, saw the result of man’s rejection of God. The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) He also saw the need for his coming, to atone for that sin and give eternal life.

When Jesus saw her crying, he had compassion on her. (13) So we see that, while Jesus performed miracles as signs of his deity, he also acted out of compassion to help those who were suffered. He care about those who were sick, those who were demon possessed and those who grieved the loss of loved ones.

Jesus commanded the dead man to rise and he did. (14-15) Jesus demonstrated authority over death. He would later say “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. (Matthew 28:18)

He has life in himself and he has the authority to give life. John 5:26 says “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” His dramatic demonstration of his authority brought fear of God upon the people and they glorified God for the miracle.

You can tell, though, that they were still not quite sure who Jesus was. Some referred to him as a great prophet and that God had visited them to bring the healing.

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