Lesson Text: Luke 7:1-10
Golden Text: “When Jesus heard these things, he…said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Luke 7:9
There are some who believe that if you have enough faith you will always be healed. We know that God CAN heal whenever He wants to but He is not obligated to heal anyone. God heals according to His plan and His timing, not ours. As believers our understanding and acceptance of faith healing should be that God is able to heal any person if He chooses to do so. We must understand that God’s plan is the issue, not His ability.
1. Evidence of Goodness – Luke 7:1-5
Luke’s writings emphasize that there is no racial or gender gap in
the family of faith. After Jesus came down from the mountain after He prayed, He selected the twelve disciples. He preached, healed people and presented the Beatitudes to them. The Beatitudes explained how people should live their lives. (See Matt. 5:3-12 and Luke 6: 20-22.) After those events He entered the city of Capernaum, the largest city on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was a wealthy place with a large number of Roman soldiers. That is the reason for the Roman centurion’s presence.
He was called a centurion because he was in charge of one hundred soldiers. The word centurion comes from the Latin root word – centum. The centurion saw goodness in the heart of one of his servants who was very ill to the point of death. The lesson says the slave was tormented by palsy. (Palsy is a muscular inability to move part or all of the body. Sometimes there are involuntary tremors.)
When the centurion heard that Jesus was in town, he asked the Jewish elders to go to Jesus on his behalf and ask Jesus to heal his servant. We are not sure if the Jewish leaders were civic leaders or religious leaders. He had heard about the miracles Jesus performed. The centurion might have been hesitant to go to Jesus himself because he was a Gentile (not a Jew).
The request the centurion made was what we call an intercessory request (to plead on behalf of someone else). The Jewish leaders went immediately to present their request to Jesus. They told Jesus that the centurion had shown genuine love for the Jewish nation and built a synagogue for them. The Jews had no doubt that Jesus could heal the man. They wondered if He would do it.
Luke’s gospel says that up to this point most of Jesus dealings were with the Jews but now He is paying attention to the Gentiles. The main people in this study are the Gentile centurion and his slave. The miracle that was coming is briefly mentioned
in Luke 7:10.
II. Evidence of Faith – Luke 7:6-10
Just as Jesus neared the centurion’s home, the Roman sent another message. He had great respect for Jesus and simply requested that Jesus not enter his home. That request showed both faith and real humility. The centurion felt unworthy to have Jesus enter his house. He also did not want Jesus to be embarrassed because the Jews would criticize Jesus for entering a Gentile’s home. The centurion also felt spiritually, morally and religiously unfit to meet Jesus outside his house.
The centurion had come to know Jesus as the Son of God who had come for all people. That was totally different from the Jews who had racial limits. The centurion did not feel worthy to be in Jesus presence. He knew that Jesus could just speak the word and his servant would be healed. He fully understood Jesus authority because of his own position of authority. He was under someone else’s authority and had others under his authority.
Jesus was amazed at the faith demonstrated by the centurion. Jesus had given so much evidence of who He was but the Jews still could not see and believe. The centurion saw God for who He was and as a result those who had returned to the centurion’s home, found the slave healed. Simple faith of the centurion was the only thing that mattered.
Jesus found faith in a caring Roman soldier. What does He find in us? We tend to have faith in the people we know best and have interactions with. Because we know and associate with them, we trust what they do and say. The only way we can develop great faith in Jesus is to get to know Him intimately, on a personal level. Get to know Him by studying and living His word. When we do that, we will not be doubtful in hard times. JESUS SAVES!!
Valinda Livingston – Shiloh Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky